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Full text of "Greece and the allies, 1914-1922"

THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

RIVERSIDE 



Ex Libris 
; C. K. OGDEN 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

1914-1922 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

SONGS OF MODERN GREECE 

MACEDONIAN FOLKLORE 

THE TALE OF A TOUR IN MACEDONIA 

GREECE IN EVOLUTION (ED.) 

TURKEY IN TRANSITION 

TURKEY, GREECE, AND THE GREAT POWERS 

UNDER THE TURK IN CONSTANTINOPLE 



GREECE AND THE 
ALLIES 

1914-1922 

BY 

G. F. ABBOTT 



WITH A PREFACE BY 

ADMIRAL MARK KERR, C.B., M.V.O. 

LATE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ROYAL HELLENIC NAVY 
AND HEAD OF THE BRITISH NAVAL MISSION TO GREECE 



METHUEN & CO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.G. 

LONDOiN 



\ 



A -6 



First Published in igsa 



PREFACE 

THE late convulsions in Greece and Turkey, and 
the consequent revival of all the mis-statements 
which, during the War, flowed from ignorance or 
maHce, render the pubhcation of this book particularly 
opportune. 

Mr. Abbott deals with his subject in all its aspects, and 
presents for the first time to the British public a complete 
and coherent view of the complicated circumstances that 
made Greece, during the War, the battle-ground of rival 
interests and intrigues, from which have grown the present 
troubles. 

In this book we get a clear account of the little-under- 
stood relations between the Greek and the Serb ; of the 
attitude of Greece towards the Central Powers and the 
Entente ; of the dealings between Greece and the Entente 
and the compUcations that ensued therefrom. Mr. Abbott 
traces the evil to its source — the hidden pull of British 
versus French interests in the Eastern Mediterranean, 
and the open antagonism between M. Venizelos and King 
Constantine. 

All these subjects are of acute interest, and not the least 
interesting is the last. 

The persecution of King Constantine by the Press of 
the Allied countries, with some few good exceptions, has 
been one of the most tragic affairs since the Dreyfus case. 
Its effect on the state of Europe during and since the War 
is remarkable. If King Constantine's advice had been 
followed, and the Greek plan for the taking of the 
Dardanelles had been carried out, the war would 
probably have been shortened by a very considerable 
period, Bulgaria and Rumania could have been kept out 
of the War, and probably the Russian Revolution and 
collapse would not have taken place ; for, instead of having 
Turkey to assist Bulgaria, the Allied forces would have 
been between and separating these two countries. 



vi GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

In this case King Constantino would not have been 
exiled from his country, and consequently he would not 
have permitted the Greek Army to be sent to Asia Minor, 
which he always stated would ruin Greece, as the country 
was not rich enough or strong enough to maintain an 
overseas colony next to an hereditary enemy like the Turk. 

It is illuminating to remember that the Greek King's 
poUcy was fully endorsed by the only competent authorities 
who had a full knowledge of the subject, which was a 
purely military one. These were the late Field-Marshal 
Lord Kitchener of Khartoum, the British Admiral at the 
head of the Naval Mission in Greece, and Colonel Sir 
Thomas Cuninghame, British Military Attache in Athens ; 
but the advice tendered by these three officers was dis- 
regarded in favour of that given by the civilians, M. 
Venizelos and the AUied Ministers. 

Mr. Abbott's book will do much to enlighten a misled 
pubUc as to the history of Greece during the last nine j^ears, 
and many documents which have not hitherto been before 
the public are quoted by him from the official originals, 
to prove the case. 

For the sake of truth and justice, which used to flourish 
in Great Britain, I hope that this book will be read by 
everyone who has the welfare of the British Empire at 
heart. 

Mark Kerr 

4 October, 1922 



AUTHOR'S PREFACE 

AS this work goes to press, the British Empire finds 
/\ itself forced to vindicate its position in the East : 
a position purchased at the cost of much blood and 
treasure during the war, to be jeopardized after the con- 
clusion of peace by the defeat of Greece and the defection 
of France. 

In the following pages the reader will find the sequence 
of events which have inevitably led up to this crisis : an 
account of transactions hitherto obscured and distorted 
by every species of misrepresentation and every known 
artifice for manipulating public opinion. 

The volume is not a hasty essay produced to exploit 
an ephemeral situation. It embodies the fruit of investiga- 
tions laboriously carried on through six years. A slight 
account of the earUer events appeared as far back as the 
winter of 1916 in a book entitled, Turkey, Greece, and the 
Great Powers : that was my first effort to place the subject 
in its true perspective. The results were interesting. I 
was honoured bv the reproaches of several private and by 
the reprobation of several public critics ; some corre- 
spondents favoured me with their anonymous scurriUty, 
and some bigots relieved me of their acquaintance. On 
the other hand, there were people who, in the midst of a 
maelstrom of passion, retained their respect for facts. 

I pursued the subject further in a weekly journal. Two 
of my contributions saw the light ; the third was sup- 
pressed by the Authorities. Its suppression furnished 
material for a debate in ParHament : " This is a cleverly 
written article," said Mr. John Dillon, " and I cannot find 
in it a single word which justifies suppression. All that 
one can find in it is that it states certain facts which the 
Government do not like to be known, not that they injure 
the military situation in the least, but that they show that 
the Government, in the opinion of the writer, made certain 
very bad blunders." The Home Secretary's answer was 



viii GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

typical of departmental dialectics : " It is inconceivable 
to me," he declared, " that the Government would venture 
to say to the Press, or indicate to it in any way, ' This is 
our view. Publish it. If you do not, you will suffer.' " 
What the Government did, in effect, say to the Editor of 
the Sational Weekly was : " This is not our view. Publish 
it not. If you do, you will suffer." 

With an innocence perhaps pardonable in one who was 
too intent on the evolution of the world drama to follow 
the daily development of war-time prohibitions, I next 
essayed to present to the public through the medium of a 
book the truth which had been banned from the columns 
of a magazine. The manuscript of that work, much 
fingered by the printer, now lies before me, and together 
with it a letter from the pubUsher stating that the Authori- 
ties had forbidden its pubHcation on pain of proceedings 
" under 27 (b) of the Defence of the Realm Regulations." 

And so it came about that not until now has it been 
possible for the voice of facts to refute the fables dictated 
by interest and accepted by credulity. The delay had 
its advantages : it gave the story, through the natural 
progress of events, a completeness which otherwise it 
would have lacked, and enabled me to test its accuracy 
on every point by a fresh visit to Greece and by reference 
to sources previously inaccessible, such as the Greek State 
Papers and the self-revealing publications of persons 
directly concerned in the transactions here related. 

I venture to hope that so thorough an inquiry will 
convej' some new information respecting these transactions 
even to those who are best acquainted with their general 
course. If they find nothing attractive in the style of 
the book, they may find perhaps something useful, some- 
thing that will deserve their serious reflection, in the matter 
of it. For let it not be said that a story starting in 1914 
is ancient history. Unless one studies the record of 
Allied action in Greece from the very beginning, he cannot 
approach with any clear understanding the present crisis — 
a struggle between Greeks and Turks on the surface, but 
at bottom a conflict between French and British policies 
affecting the vital interests of the British Empire. 

G. F. A. 

5 October, 1922 



Besides information acquired at first hand, my material 
is mainly drawn from the following sources : 

Greek State Papers now utilized for the first time. 

White Book, published by the Government of M. 
Venizelos under the title, " Diplomatika Engrapha, 1913- 
1917," 2nd edition, Athens, 1920. 

Orations, delivered in the Greek Chamber in August, 
1917, by M. Venizelos, his followers, MM. Repoulis, Politis, 
and Kafandaris, and his opponents, MM. Stratos and 
Rallis. The Greek text (" Agoreuseis, etc.," Athens, 
1917) and the English translation (" A Report of Speeches, 
etc," London, 1918), give them all, though the speech of 
M. Stratos only in summary. The French translation 
(" Discours, etc.. Traduction de M. Leon Maccas, autorisee 
par le Gouvernement Grec," Paris, 1917) curiously omits 
both the Opposition speeches. 

Skouloudis's Apantesis, 1917 ; Apologia, 1919 ; Semeio- 
seis, 1921. The first of these publications is the ex- 
Premier's Reply to statements made in the Greek Chamber 
by M. Venizelos and others in August, 1917 ; the second is 
his Defence ; the third is a collection of Notes concerning 
transactions in which he took part. All three are of the 
highest value for the eventful period of the Skouloudis 
Administration from November, 1915, to June, 1916. 

Journal Officiel, 24-30 October, 1919, containing a full 
report of the Secret Committee of the French Chamber 
which sat from 16 June to 22 June, 1916. 

Next in importance, though not inferior in historic 
interest, come some personal narratives, of which I have 
also availed myself, by leading French actors in the drama : 

Du Fournet : " Souvenirs de Guerre d'un Amiral, 1914- 
1916." By Vice-Admiral Dartige du Fournet, Paris, 1920. 

Sarrail : " Mon Commandement en Orient, 1916-1918." 
By General Sarrail, Paris, 1920. 

Regnault : "La Conquete d'Athenes, Juin-Juillet, 
1 917." By General Regnault, Paris, 1920. 



X GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Dnille : " L'Entente, la Grece et la Bulgarie. Notes 
d'histoire et souvenirs." By Gabriel Deville, Paris, 1919. 
The author was French Minister at Athens till August, 
1915, and the portions of Ins work which deal with his own 
experiences are worth consulting. 

Jonnart : " M. Jonnart en Gr^ce et I'abdication de 
Constantin." By Raymond Recouly, Paris, 1918. Though 
not NVTitten by the High Commissioner himself, this account 
may be regarded as a semi-official record of his mission. 

The only English publications of equal value, though of 
much more limited bearing upon the subject of tliis work, 
which have appeared so far are : 

The Dardanelles Commission Reports (Cd. 8490 ; Cd. 
8502 ; Cmd. 371), and the Life of Lord Kitchener, by 
Sir George Arthur, Vol. Ill, London, 1920. 

Some trustworthy contributions to the study of these 
events have also been made by several unofficial narratives, 
to which the reader is referred for details on particular 
episodes. The absence of reference to certain other 
narratives is deliberate. 



CONTENTS 



INTRODUCTION 



CHAPTER 


I. 


CHAPTER 


II. 


CHAPTER 


Ill, 


CHAPTER 


IV. 


CHAPTER 


V. 


CHAPTER 


VI. 


CHAPTER 


VII. 


CHAPTER 


VIII. 


CHAPTER 


IX. 


CHAPTER 


X. 


CHAPTER 


XI. 


CHAPTER 


XII. 


CHAPTER 


XIII. 


CHAPTER 


XIV. 


CHAPTER 


XV. 


CHAPTER 


XVI. 


CHAPTER 


XVII 


CHAPTER 


XVIII. 


CHAPTER 


XIX. 


CHAPTER 


XX. 


CHAPTER 


XXI. 


AFTERWORD - 


INDEX 


- 



I 
7 

17 
21 

33 
50 

65 
76 

85 

95 

105 

114 

123 

139 
152 
162 
172 
177 
186 
200 
207 
217 
230 
239 



GREECE AND THE 
ALLIES 

1914-1922 

INTRODUCTION 

INGENIOUS scholars, surveying life from afar, are 
apt to interpret historical events as the outcome of 

impersonal forces which shape the course of nations 
unknown to themselves. This is an impressive theory, 
but it will not bear close scrutiny. Human nature every- 
where responds to the influence of personaUty. In Greece 
this response is more marked than an^^vhere else. No 
people in the world has been so completely dominated by 
personal figures and suffered so grievously from their feuds, 
ever since the day when strife first parted Atreides, king of 
men, and god-Hke Achilles. 

The outbreak of the European War found Greece under 
the sway of King Constantine and his Premier Eleutherios 
Venizelos ; and her history during that troubled era 
inevitably centres round these two personahties. 

By the triumphant conduct of the campaigns of 1912 
and 1913, King Constantine had more than effaced the 
memory of his defeat in 1S97. His victories ministered 
to the national lust for power and formed an earnest of 
the glory that was yet to come to Greece. Henceforth a 
halo of miUtary romance — a thing especially dear to the 
hearts of men — shone about the head of Constantine ; 
and his grateful country bestowed upon him the title of 



2 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Slralilalds. In town mansions and village huts men's 
mouths were filled with liis praise : one dwelt on his daunt- 
less courage, another on his strategic genius, a third on his 
sjmipathctic recognition of the claims of the common 
soldier, whose hardsliips he shared, and for whose life he 
evinced a far greater solicitude than for his own. 

But it was not onl}^ as a leader of armies that King 
Constantine appealed to the hearts of his countrymen. 
They loved to explain to strangers the reason of the name 
Koumharos or " Gossip," by which they commonly called 
him. It was not so much, they would say, that he had 
stood godfather to the children born to his soldiers during 
the campaigns, but lather that his relations wth the rank 
and file of the people at large were marked by the intimate 
interest of a personal companion. 

In peace, as in war, he seemed a prince born to lead a 
democratic people. With his tall, virile figure, and a 
handsome face in which strength and dignity were happily 
blended with simplicity, he had a manner of address wliich 
was very engaging : his words, few, simple, soldier-hke, 
produced a wonderful effect ; they were the words of one 
who meant and felt what he said : they went straight to 
the hearer's heart because they came straight from the 
speaker's. 

QuaUties of a very different sort had enabled M. Venizelos 
to impose himself upon the mind of the Greek nation, and 
to make liis name current in the Chancelleries of the world. 

Having begun life as an obscure lawyer in Crete, he had 
risen through a series of pohtical convulsions to high 
notabihty in his native island ; and in 1909 a similar 
convulsion in Greece — brought about not without his 
collaboration — opened to him a wider sphere of acti\ity. 
The moment was singularly opportune. 

The discontent of the Greek people at the chronic mis- 
management of their affairs had been quickened by the 
Turkish Revolution into something Uke despair. Bulgaria 
had exploited that upheaval by annexing Eastern Rumeha : 
Greece had failed to annex Crete, and ran the risk, if the 
Young Turks' experiment succeeded, of seeing the fulfil- 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 3 

ment of all her national aspirations frustrated for ever. 
A group of military malcontents in touch with the Cretan 
leader translated the popular feehng into action : a revolt 
against the reign of venaHty and futility which had for so 
many years paralyzed every effort, which had sometimes 
sacrificed and always subordinated the interests of the 
nation to the interests of faction, and now left Greece a 
prey to Bulgarian and Ottoman ambition. The old 
politicians who were the cause of the ill obviously could not 
effect a cure. A new man was needed — a man free from the 
deadening influences of a corrupt past — a man daring 
enough to initiate a new course and tenacious enough to 
push on with inexorable purpose to the goal. 

During the first period of his career, M. Venizelos had 
been a capable organizer of administrative departments 
no less than a clever manipulator of seditious movements. 
But he had mainly distinguished himself as a rebel against 
authority. And it was in the temper of a rebel that he 
came to Athens. Obstacles, however, external as well 
as internal, made a subversive enterprise impossible. With 
the quick adaptability of his nature, he turned into a 
guardian of established institutions : the foe of revolution 
and friend of reform. Supported by the CrowTi, he was 
able to lift his voice for a " Re\'isionist " above the angry 
sea of a multitude clamouring for a " Constituent 
Assembly." 

All that was healthy in the political world rallied to the 
new man ; and the new man did not disappoint the faith 
placed in him. Through the next two years he stood in 
every eye as the embodiment of constructive statesman- 
ship. His Government had strength enough in the country 
to dispense with " graft." The result was a thorough 
overhauhng of the State machinery. Self-distrust founded 
on past failures vanished. Greece seemed like an invahd 
healed and ready to face the future. It was a miraculous 
change for a nation whose political life hitherto had ex- 
hibited two traits seldom found combined : the le\dty of 
cMldhood and the indolence of age. 

For this miracle the chief credit undoubtedly belonged 



4 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to yi. Venizelos. He had brought to the task a brain 
better endowed than an}'- associated with it. His initiative 
was indefatigable ; his decision quick. UnUke most of 
liis countrymen, he did not content himself with ideas 
without works. His subtlety in thinking did not serve 
him as a substitute for action. To these talents he added 
an eloquence of the kind which, to a Greek multitude, is 
irresistible, and a certain gift which does not always go 
with high intelhgence, but, when it does, is worth all the 
arts of the most profound politician and accomphshed 
orator put together. He understood, as it were instinc- 
tively, the character of every man he met, and dealt with 
him accordingly. This tact, coupled with a smile full of 
sweetness and apparent frankness, gave to liis ^avid 
personality a charm which only those could appraise who 
experienced it. 

Abroad the progress of ]\I. Venizelos excited almost as 
much interest as it did in Greece. The Greeks are ex- 
traordinarily sensitive to foreign opinion : a single good word 
in a Western newspaper raises a politician in public esteem 
more than a whole volume of home-made panegyric. 
M. Venizelos had not neglected this branch of his business ; 
and from the outset every foreign journalist and diplo- 
matist who came his way was made to feel his fascination : 
so that, even before leaving his native shores, the Cretan 
had become in the European firmament a star of the third 
or fourth magnitude. Reasons other than personal con- 
tributed to enlist Western opinion in Ms favour. Owing 
to her geographical situation, Greece depends for the 
fulfilment of her national aspirations and for her very 
existence on the Powers which command the Mediter- 
ranean. A fact so patent had never escaped the per- 
ception of any Greek pohtician. But no Greek poHtician 
had ever kept this fact more steadily in view, or put this 
obvious truth into more vehement language than M. 
Venizelos : "To tie Greece to the apron-strings of the Sea 
Powers," was his maxim. And the times were such that 
those Powers needed a Greek statesman whom they could 
trust to apply that maxim unflinchingly. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 5 

With the recovery of Greece synchronized, not by chance, 
the doom of Turkey : a sentence in which all the members 
of the Entente, starting from different points and pursuing 
different objects, concurred. The executioners were, 
naturally, the Balkan States. Russia began the work by 
bringing about an agi-eement between Bulgaria and 
Servia ; England completed it by bringing Greece into 
the League. There ensued a local, which, in accordance 
with the old diplomatic prophecy, was soon to lead to the 
universal conflagration. Organized as she was, Greece 
succeeded better than anyone expected ; and the national 
gratitude — the exuberant gratitude of a Southern people — 
went out to the two men directly responsible for that 
success : to King Constant! ne, whose brilliant generalship 
beat the enemy hosts ; and to M. Venizelos, whose able 
statesmanship had prepared the field. Poets and pam- 
phleteers vied with each other in expatiating on the wonders 
they had performed, to the honour and advantage of their 
country. In this ecstasy of popular adoration the spirit 
of the soldier and the spirit of the lawj-er seemed to have 
met. 

But the union was illusive and transient. Between 
these two men, so strangely flung together by destiny, 
there existed no link of sympathy ; and propinquity onty 
forced the growth of their mutual antagonism. The seeds 
of discord had alreacty borne fruit upon the common ground 
of their Balkan exploits. Immediately after the defeat of 
Turkey a quarrel over the spoils arose among the victors. 
King Constantine, bearing in mind Bulgaria's long- 
cherished dream of hegemony, and persuaded that no 
sacrifices made by Greece and Servia could do more than 
defer a rupture, urged a Grasco-Servian alliance against 
their truculent partner. He looked at the matter from a 
purely Greek standpoint and was anxious to secure the 
maximum of profit for his country. M. Venizelos, on the 
other hand, aware that the Western Powers, and par- 
ticularly England, wanted a permanent Balkan coalition 
as a barrier against Germany in the East, and anxious to 
retain those Powers' favour, was prepared to concede 



6 CREFXE AND THE ALLIES 

much for the sake of averting a rupture. Not until the 
Bulbars lx>trayed their intentions by actual aggressions 
in Macedonia did he withdraw his opposition to the alhance 
with Servia, wiiich ushered in the Second Balkan W'ar 
and led to the Peace of Bucharest. He yielded to the 
pressure of the circumstances brought to bear upon him ; 
but the encounter represented no more than the preHminary 
crossing of swords between two strong antagonists. 



CHAPTER I 

FROI\I the moment when the rupture between Austria 
and Scrvia, in July, 1914, came to disturb the 
peace, Greece deUbcrately adopted an attitude of 
neutraUt}^ with the proviso that she would go to Servia's 
assistance in case of a Bulgarian attack upon the latter. 
Such an attitude was considered to be in accordance ^\^th 
the Grasco-Scrvian Alliance. For, although the Military 
Convention accompanjdng the Treaty contained a vague 
stipulation for mutual support in case of war between one 
of the allied States and "a third Power," the Treaty itself 
had as its sole object mutual defence against Bulgaria. ^ 

In the opinion of I\I. Venizelos, her pact did not obhge 
Greece to go to Servia's assistance against Austria, but at 
most to mobiUze 40,000 men.^ Treaty obligations apart, 
neutrality was also imposed by practical considerations. 
It was to the interest of Greece — a matter of self-preserva- 
tion — ^not to tolerate a Bulgarian attack on Servia calcu- 
lated to upset the Balkan balance of power estabUshed by 
the Peace of Bucharest, and she was firmly determined, 
in concert with Rumania, to oppose such an attack v/ith 
all her might. But as to Austria, M. Venizelos had to 
consider whether Greece could or could not offer her ally 
effective aid, and after consideration he decided that she 

1 See Art. i of the Military Convention. As this article originally- 
stood, the promise of mutual support was expressly limited to the 
" case of war between Greece and Bulgaria or between Servia and 
Bulgaria." It was altered at the eleventh hour at Servia's request, 
and not without objections on the part of Greek military men, into 
a " case of war between one of the allied States and a third Powder 
breaking out under the circumstances foreseen by the Graeco- 
Servian Treaty of Alliance." But the only circumstances foreseen 
and provided for by that Treaty relate to war with Bulgaria, and 
it is a question whether any other interpretation would stand before 
a court of International Law, despite the " third Power " phrase 
in the Military Convention. All the documents are to be found in 
the White Book, Nos. 2, 3, 4, G. 

2 See Art. 5 of the Military Convention. 

7 



8 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

should not proceed even to the mobilization of 40,000 men, 
for such a measure might provoke a Bulgarian mobihzation 
and precipitate compUcations. For the rest, the attitude 
of Greece in face of Servia's war \\'ith Austria, "M. Venizelos 
pointed out, corresponded absolutely with the attitude 
which Servia had taken up in face of Greece's recent 
crisis with Turkey. ^ On that occasion Greece had obtained 
from her ally merely moral support, the view taken being 
that the casus foederis would arise only in the event of 
Bulgarian intervention. ^ 

Accordingly, when the Servian Go^■crnment asked if it 
could count on armed assistance from Greece, M. Streit, 
Minister for Foreign Affairs rmder M. Venizelos, answered 
that the Greek Government was convinced that it fully 
performed its duty as a friend and ally by adopting, until 
Bulgaria moved, a policy of most benevolent neutrahty. 
The co-operation of Greece in the war A\ith Austria, far 
from helping, would harm Servia ; by becoming a bel- 
ligerent Greece could only offer her ally forces negligible 
compared \\ith the enemy's, while she would inevitably 
e.xpose Salonica, the only port through which Servia could 
obtain war material, to an Austrian attack ; and, moreover, 
she would weaken her amiy which, in the common interest, 
ought to be kept intact as a check on Bulgaria. ^ 

A similar communication, emphasizing the decision to 
keep out of the conflict, and to intervene in concert %\ith 
Rumania only should Bulgaria by intervening against 
Servia jeopardize the status quo estabUshed by the 
Bucharest Treaty — in which case the action of Greece 
would have a purely Balkan character — was made to the 
Greek ]\Iinisters abroad after a Coimcil held in the Royal 
Palace under the presidency of the King. * 

This policy brought King Constantine into sharp 
collision with one of the Central Powers, whose conceptions 
in regard to the Balkans had not yet been hamionized. 
Vienna readily acquiesced in the Greek Government's 
declaration that it could not permit Bulgaria to compromise 

1 White Book, Nos. 19, 20, 22. 

2 White Book, Nos. 11, 13, 14. 

3 White Book, No. 23. 

■* Streit to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petersburg, Berlin, 
Vienna, Rome, Constantinople, Bucharest, Sofia, Nish. (No. 
23,800.) 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 9 

the Bucharest Treaty, and since by an eventual action 
against Bulgaria Greece would not quarrel with Austria, 
the Austrian Government, on its part, promised to abstain 
from manifesting any solidarity with Bulgaria in the event 
of a Graico-Bulgarian war.^ Not so Berlin. 

The German Emperor egotistically presumed to dictate 
the course which Greece should pursue, and on 31 July he 
invited King Constantinc to join Germany, backing the 
invitation with every appeal to sentiment and interest 
he could think of. The memory of his father, who had been 
assassinated, made it impossible for Constantine to favour 
the Servian assassins ; never would Greece have a better 
opportimity of emancipating herself, under the protection 
of the Central Powers, from the tutelage which Russia 
aimed at exercising over the Balkan Peninsula ; if, con- 
trary to the Kaiser's expectations, Greece took the other 
side, she would be exposed to a simultaneous attack from 
Italy, Bulgaria and Turkey, and by the same token all 
personal relations between him and Constantine would 
be broken for ever. He ended with the words : "I have 
spoken frankly, and I beg you to let me know your decision 
without delay and with the same absolute frankness." 

He had nothing to complain of on that score. King 
Constantine on 2 August rephed that, while it was not the 
policy of Greece to take an active part in the Austro- 
Servian conflict, it was equally impossible for her "to 
make common cause with the enemies of the Serbs and to 
fall upon them, since they are our alUes. It seems to me 
that the interests of Greece demand an absolute neutrality 
and the maintenance of the status quo in the Balkans such 
as it has been created by the Treaty of Bucharest." He 
went on to add that Greece was determined, in concert 
with Rumania, to prevent Bulgaria from aggrandizing 
herself at the expense of Servia ; if that happened, the 
balance in the Balkans would be upset and it would bring 
about the very Russian tutelage which the Kaiser feared. 
" This way of thinking," he concluded, " is shared by the 
whole of my people." 

What the Kaiser thought of these opinions was summed 
up in one word on the margin, " Rubbish." This, however, 
was not meant for his brother-in-law's ears. To him he 

1 Ibid. 



10 GHEECK AND THE ALLIES 

used loss terse langiiage. On 4 August he informed King 
Constantinc through the Greek ]\Hiiister in Bcrhn that 
an aliiance had that day been conchidcd between Germany 
and Turke}', that Bulgaria and Rumania were similarly 
ranging themselves on Germany's side, and that the German 
men-of-war in the Mediterranean were going to join the 
Turkish fleet in order to act together. Thus all the Balkan 
States were siding with Germany in the struggle against 
Slavism. Would Greece alone stand out ? His Imperial 
Majest}' appealed to King Constantinc as a comrade, as a 
German Field Marshal of M^hom the German Army was 
proud, as a brother-in-law ; he reminded him that it was 
thanks to his support that Greece was allowed to retain 
Cavalla ; he begged him to mobilize his army, place 
himself b}^ the Kaiser's side and march hand in hand 
against the common enemy — Slavism. He made this 
urgent appeal for the last time, convinced that the King 
of Greece w^ould respond to it. If not, all would be over 
between the two countries — this being a slightly 
attenuated version of another marginal note : "I will 
treat Greece as an enemy if she does not adhere at once." 
King Constantine's answer was tactful but final : His 
personal sjmipathies and his political opinions, he said, 
were on the Kaiser's side. But alas ! that which the 
Kaiser asked him to do was completely out of the question. 
Greece could not under any conceivable circumstances 
side against the Entente : the Mediterranean was at the 
mercy of the united French and British fleets, which could 
destroy the Greek marine, both royal and mercantile, 
take the Greek islands, and wipe Greece off the map. 
Things being so, neutrality, he declared, was the only 
poHcy for Greece, and he ended up by meeting the Kaiser's 
threat with a counter-threat, none the less pointed for 
being veiled under the guise of an " assurance not to touch 
his friends among my neighbours (i.e. Bulgaria and Turkey) 
as long as they do not touch our local Balkan interests."^ 

1 Part of the correspondence is to be found in Die deutschen 
Dokumente zum Kriegsausbruch, by Count Mongelas and Prof. Walter 
Schliking ; part in the White Book, Nos. 24 and 26. As much 
acrimonious discussion has arisen over King Constantine's last 
dispatch, it is worth while noting the circumstances under which 
it was sent. Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, Chief of the British Naval 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 11 

Germany did not immediately resign lierself to this 
rebuff. The Kaiser's Government thought King Con- 
stantine's attachment to neutrality reasonable — for the 
present ; but at the same time urged Greece to enter as 
soon as possible into a secret understanding with Bulgaria 
and Turkey for eventual action against Servia, describing 
the latter country as the bear's skin of which it would be 
a good stroke of business for Greece to secure a share. 
The German ]\Iinister at Athens, better acquainted with 
Greek views and feeUngs, took a less naive hue. He did 
not want Greece to attack her ally, but was content to 
advise that she should free herself from the ties that 
bound her to Servia, and in the event of Bulgarian aggression 
just leave her ally in the Imxh. But, if he went less far 
than his chief in one direction, he went farther in another, 
threatening, should Greece move on Servaa's behalf, to 
ask for his passport. This threat, Hke all the others, 
failed to move the Athens Government ;^ and, unable to 
gain Greece as an ally, Germany was henceforth glad 
enough not to have her as an enem3^ 

So far all those responsible for the policy of Greece 
appeared to be unanimous in the decision not to be drawn 
prematurely into the European cataclysm, but to reserve 
her forces for the defence of the Balkan equihbrium. 
Under this apparent unanimity, however, lay divergent 
tendencies. 

King Constantine, a practical soldier, estimated that the 
European War would be of long duration and doubtful 
issue : in tliis battle of giants he saw no profit for pygmies, 
but only perils. At the same time, he did not forget that 
Greece had in Bulgaria and Turkey two embittered enemies 

Mission in Greece, relates how the King brought the Kaiser's 
telegram and read it to him : " He was indignant at the inter- 
ference in his country's affairs. However, to stop such telegrams 
coming in daily, he determined to send on this occasion a sjaiipa- 
thetic answer." (See The Times, g Dec, 1920.) The communica- 
tion, therefore, was no secret from the British Government. Nor 
was it from M. Venizelos ; for the King's dispatch is but a summary 
of an identical declaration made by M. Vcnizelos's Government 
itself to the German Government : Streit to Greek Legation, 
Berlin, 26 July/8 Aug., 1914. Though omitted from the White 
Book, this document may now bo read in the Balkan Review, Dec, 
1920, pp. 381-3. 

1 White Booh, Nos. 28, 29, 30. 



IJ c;REE( E AND THE ALLIES 

who would nK\st probvibly try to tUh in the troubled Wviters. 
H thoy did so. he w.is i^re^virod to tight ; but to tii^lit with 
a dotiiuto objoctivo and on a dotinite military plan which 
tov^k into accoimt tho olotncnts of tinu\ pUioo. and 
n.^oiu-cos. 

The Kings standpoint was shared by ini>st Greek 
statesmen and soldiers of note : they all. in varying 
degrees. stoo<.l for neutrality, with jxissible intervention 
on the side of the Entente at some favourable mon\ont. 
But It did not commend itself to his Premier. Caution 
was foreign to M. Veni/elos's ambitious and adventiuous 
temixnament. Military consideratioi\s had little meaning 
for Ixis ci\ili;m mind. Taking the s^xvdy victory of the 
Entente as a foregone conclusion, and imbued with a sort 
of niN-stical f.iith in his own prophetic insight and star, he 
kx-»ked upon the Em^o^x-an War as an c>ccasion for Im- 
jx^rialist aggrandizement which he felt that Greece ought 
to grasp without an instvint's delay. 

It w.\s not long before the underlying diwTgence came to 
the surface. 

In the morning of iS August, at a full Cabitiet Meeting. 
M. Streit mentioned that the Russian Mituster had privately 
referred to the pxv>sibility of Gavce sending 150.000 men 
to tight with SerWa ag-ainst the Austrians on the Danulx^ 
— far away from the Greek Army's natural base in 
Macedonia. C>ti hearing this M. Venizelos impulsively 
declared that he was ready to place all the Greek fonres 
at the disp«.">sal of the Entente Powers in accordance with 
their invitation. M. Streit remonstrated that there had 
been no " invitation." but at most a soimding from one 
of the Entente Ministers, which Greece should meet with a 
coimter-somrding, in onler to learn to what extent the 
suggestion was serious. Further, he objected that, before 
Greece committed herself, it was necessary to find out 
where she would be expected to hght, the conditions imder 
which she would fight, and the comjx'nsatioi\s which she 
would receive in the event of victory. As a last resort 
he proposed to adjomn the ciiscussion until the afternoon. 
But M. Venizelos answered that there was no time to lose : 
the War would be over in three weeks. ^ Whereupon M. 

^ My authority for this glimpse behind the scenes is M. Streit 
himself. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES IH 

Streit resigned, and M. Venizclos offered to the Jmtentc 
Ministers the adhesion of Greece forthwith. 

The terms in which this offer was couched have never 
been divulged ; but from the French Minister's descrip- 
tions of it as made " a tilre gracicux " and " sans con- 
ditions,"^ it seems to liave been unconditional and vm- 
qnalified. On the otJier liand, M. Vcnizelos at a later jjcriod 
exjjlained that he had oWcri'A to ])lace Greece at the disjjosal 
of the Entente flowers, if Turkey went to war with them.'-* 
And it is not improbable that the primary objective in 
his mind was Turkey, who still refused to relinquish her 
claims to tlie islands conquered by the Greeks in 1912, 
and had just strengthened her navy with two German 
units, the Goehen and the Breslan. However that may be, 
King Constantine seconded the offer, expressing himself 
quite willing to join the Entente there and then with the 
whole of his army, but stipulating, on the advice of the 
General Staff, tliat the Greek forces should not be moved 
to any place where they could not, if need arose, operate 
against Bulgaria. 

The King of England telegraphed to the King of Greece, 
thanking him for the proposal, which, he said, his 
Government would consider. The French and Russian 
Governments expressed lively satisfaction, France, how- 
ever, adding : " For the moment we judge that Greece 
must vise all her efforts to make Turkey observe her 
promised neutrahty, and to avoid anything that might 
lead the Turkish Government to abandon its neutrality." 
The British answer, when it came at last, was to the same 
effect : England wished by all means to avoid a collision 
with Turkey and advised that Greece also should avoid a 
coUision. She only suggested for the present an under- 
standing between the Staffs with a view to eventual 
action. 

This suggestion was apparently a concession to Mr. 
Winston Churchill, who just then had formed tfie opinion 
that Turkey would join the Central Powers, and had arranged 
with Lord Kitchener that two officers of the Admiralty 
should meet two officers of the War Office to work out a 
plan for the seizure, by meaas of a Greek arrny, of the 

1 Deville, pp. 119, 128. 

2 Orations, pp. 93-4. 



1 \. OREKrE AN13 TTIE ATJJES 

Gallipoli Peninsula, wiiii a sicw lu admitting a British 
fleet to the Sea of Maiinara.^ But it no way affected the 
British Government's policy. The utmost that JCngland 
and France were prepared to do in order to meet tlie offer 
of Greece, and that only if she were attacked, was to 
prevent tlie Turkish fleet from coming out of the Dar- 
danelles ; France also holding out some hope of financial 
assistance, but none of war material on an adequate 
scale.* 

Such a reception of his advances was not very flattering 
to M. Venizelos — it made him look foolish in the eyes of 
those who had pleaded against precipitancy ; and he took 
the earliest opportunity to vent his ill-humour. King 
Constantine, in a reply to the British Admiralty drafted 
with Vice- Admiral Mark Kerr, stated that he would not 
hght Turkey unless attacked by her — a statement in strict 
consonance with the wishes of the Entente Powers at the 
time. But M. Venizelos objected. After his own de- 
clarations to the Entente Ministers, and after the exchange 
of telegrams with the King of England, he told his 
sovereign he did not consider this reply possible. Turkey 
was their enemy, and was it wise for them to reject a 
chance of fighting her with many and powerful allies, so 
that they might eventually have to fight her single- 
handed ? ^ 

Thus M. Venizelos argued, in the face of express evidence 
that those aUies did not desire the immediate participation 
of Greece in a war against Tiukey — because, anxious 
above all things to establish close contact with them, he 
wanted the offer to remain open : "a promise that, should 
at any time the Powers consider us useful in a war against 
Turkey ... we would be at their disposal."* And he 
professed himself unable to understand how a course which 
appeared so clear to him could possibly be obscure to 
others. But he had a theory — a theory which served him 
henceforward as a stock explanation of every difference of 
opinion, and in which the political was skilfully mixed 

^ Dardanelles Commissio)?. Supplement to First Report, par. 45. 
2 Gennadius, London, 20 Aug./2 Sept.; 21 Aug./3 Sept.; 23 
Aug./5 Sept. • Romanos, Paris, 16/29 Aug., 1914. 
'■* While Book. No. 31. 
* See Orations, p. 103. 



GREECE AND THE AXLIES 15 

with the personal factor. According to this theory, when 
face to face with M. Venizelos, the King peldom failed to 
be convinced ; but as soon as M. Venizelos withdrew, he 
changed his mind. This happened not once, but many 
times. ^ We have here a question of psychology which 
cannot be casually dismissed. M. Venizelos's persuasive 
powers are notorious, and it is highly probable that King 
Constantine underwent the fascination which this man 
had for others. But behind it all, according to the Veni- 
zehst theory, lurked another clement : 

" What, I think, confuses things and begets in the mind 
of your Majesty and of M. Streit tendencies opposed to 
those supported by me, is the wish not to displease Germany 
by undertaking a war against Turkey in co-operation with 
Powers hostile to her." Although M. Streit had laid down 
his portfolio, he continued to be consulted by the King, 
with the result, M. Venizelos complained, that the difference 
of opinions between the ex-Minis ter for Foreign Affairs 
and himself was fast de^'eloping into a di\'ergence of courses 
betw'een the Crown and the Cabinet : such a state of 
things was obviousl^^ undesiral^le, and M. Venizelos, " in 
order to facilitate the restoration of full harmony between 
the Crown and its responsible advisers," offered his 
resignation.^ 

M. Venizelos did not resign after all. But liis letter 
marks an epoch none the less. At first, as we have seen, 
the avowed policy of the Premier, of the Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, and of the King w^as the same. The difference 
which now emerges is that M. Venizelos desired to throw 
Greece into the War immediatel5^ without conditions and 
Avithout any invitation from the Entente, while the King 
and M. Streit were more circumspect. M. Venizelos chose 
to interpret their circumspection as prompted by regard 
for Germany, and did not hesitate to convey this view to 
Entente quarters. It was, perhaps, a plausible insinuation, 
since the King had a German wife and M. Streit was of 
German descent. But, as a matter of fact, at the moment 
when it w^as made. King Constantine voluntarily presented 
to the British Admiralty through Admiral Kerr the plans 
for the taking of the Dardanelles which his Staff had 

^ Ibid, pp. 41-2, 98. 
2 White Book, No. 31 



IC GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

elaborated, and for a long time afterwards continued to 
supply the British Government, through the same channel, 
with information from his secret service.^ 

' See the Admiral's statements hi the Weekly Dispatch, 21 No\'., 
and in The Times, 9 Dec, 1920. Though the plans in question were 
not used, they were among the very few sources of reliable informa- 
tion with which Sir Ian Hamilton left England to take up the com- 
mand of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. — Dardanelles 
Commission, Final Report, par. 17. 



CHAPTER II 

BEFORE proceeding any further with the develop- 
ment of the position in Greece, it will be well to 
cast a glance on the attitudes maintained by the 
other Balkan States and the views entertained towards 
them by the Entente Powers. One must know all the 
possible combinations on the Balkan chess-board before 
one can profitably study or estimate the real place of the 
Greek pawn. 

Bulgaria proclaimed her firm intention to remain 
neutral ; but, to judge from the Greek diplomatic repre- 
sentatives' reports, there was every indication that she 
only awaited a favourable opportunity, such as some 
brilliant military success of the Central Powers, in order to 
invade Servia without risk. Meanwhile, well-armed 
iiTegular bands, equipped by the Bulgarian Government 
and commanded by Bulgarian officers " on furlough," 
made their appearance on the Servian frontier, and the 
Bulgarian Press daily grew more hostile in its tone.^ 
Alarmed by these symptoms, the Greek General Staff 
renewed the efforts which it had been making since the 
beginning of 1914, to concert plans with the Servian 
military authorities for common action in accordance 
with their alliance, and asked the Servian Minister of War 
if, in case Bulgaria ordered a general mobilization, Servia 
would be disposed to bring part of her forces against her, 
so as to prevent the concentration of the Bulgarian army 
and give the Greek army time to mobilize. The reply 
was that, if Bulgaria did order mobilization, the Serbs 
were obUged to turn against her with all their available 
forces. Only, as Austria had just started an offensive, 
nobody could know how many forces they would have 
available — perhaps they could face the situation with 
the 25,000 or 30,000 men in the new provinces ; but, in 

^ Naoum, Sofia, 11, 20 Aug. (O. S.) ; Alexandropoulos, Nish, 
19 July, 19 Aug. (O. S.), 1914- 

2 17 



18 GREECEJAND THE ALLIES 

any case, it did not seem that Bulgaria meant to mobilize, 
or, if she did, it would be against Turkey. A little later, 
in answer to another Greek step, M. Passitch, the Servian 
Premier, after a conference with the mihtary chiefs, stated 
that, as long as there was no imminent danger from 
Bulgaria, Servia could not draw troops from the Austrian 
frontier, because of her engagements towards the Entente, 
and that, should the danger become imminent, Servia 
would have to consult first the Entente.^ By Entente, 
he meant especially Russia, for M. Sazonow had already 
told the Greek Minister at Petrograd that it was all-im- 
portant that the Servian army should be left free to devote 
its whole strength against the Austrians.* 

Rumania, on whose co-operation Greece counted for 
restraining Bulgaria and preserving the balance estabhshed 
by the Treaty of Bucharest, maintained an equivocal 
attitude : both belligerent groups courted her, and it was 
as yet uncertain wliich would prevail.* For the present 
Rumanian diplomacy was directed to the formation of a 
Balkan hloc of neutraUty — between Rmnania, Bulgaria, 
Turkey, and Greece — which might enable those four States 
to remain at peace with each other and the whole world, 
exempt from outside interference. The first step to the 
reahzation of this idea, the Rumanian Government con- 
sidered, was a settlement of the differences between Greece 
and Turkey ; and, in compUance with its invitation, both 
States sent their plenipotentiaries to Bucharest. 

The only result of this mission was to enhghten the 
Hellenic Government on Turkey's real attitude. At the 
very first sitting, the Turkish delegate, Talaat Bey, in 
answer to a remark that the best thing for the Balkan 
States would be to keep out of the general conflagration, 
blurted out : " But Turkey is no longer free as to her 
movements " — an avowal of the Germano-Tiurkish alUance 
which the Greeks already knew from the Kaiser's own 
indiscretions. After that meeting, in a conversation wth 
the Rumanian Minister for Foreign Affairs, which that 
gentleman reported to the Greeks, Talaat said that, in 
his opinion, Greece could ignore her Servian alliance, for, 

* Alexandropoulos, Nish, 31 July, 19, 26 Aug. (O.S.) 1914. 

* Dragoumis, Petersburg, 20 Aug. (O.S,), 1914. 
3 Politis, Bucharest, 27 Aug. (O.S.), 1914. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 19 

as things stood, she might find herself at war, not only 
with Bulgaria, but also with Turkey — a contingency not 
foreseen when that alliance was made. From these 
utterances the Greeks derived a clear impression that 
Talaat acted on a plan drawn up in BerUn.^ For the rest, 
the despatch of the Goeben and the Breslau to Constanti- 
nople, followed by the continued arrival of German officers 
and sailors for the Ottoman Navy, spoke for themselves. 
M. Sazonow shared the Greek conviction that Turkey had 
made up her mind, and that no amount of concessions 
would avail : " It is," he said to the Greek Minister at 
Petrograd, " an abscess which must burst."* The Greeks 
had even reason to suspect that Turkey was secretly 
negotiating an agreement with Bulgaria, and on this point 
also the information of the Russian Government confirmed 
theirs.' 

It was his intimate knowledge of the Balkan situation 
that had inspired King Constantine's proposal to the 
Entente Powers in August for common action against 
Turkey, quahfied with the stipulation of holding Bulgaria 
in check. The proposal took cognizance of Balkan diffi- 
culties and might perhaps have solved them, had it been 
accepted : an advance of the Greek army on Thrace, 
combined with a naval attack by the British Fleet, early 
in September, might have settled Turkey, secured 
Bulgaria's neutraUty, if not indeed her co-operation, or 
forced her into a premature declaration of hostihty, and 
decided Rumania to throw in her lot with us. 

But the Entente Powers were not yet ripe for action 
against Turkey : they were still playing — ^with what 
degree of seriousness is a delicate question — for the 
neutraUty of Turkey, and for that Greek neutrahty was 
necessary. As to Bulgaria, our diplomacy harboured a 
different project : the reconstruction of the Balkan 
League of 1912 in our favour, on the basis of territorial 
concessions to be made to Bulgaria by Ser^da and Greece, 
who were to be compensated by dividing Albania between 
them. Greece also had from England an alternative 
suggestion — expansion in Asia Minor : a vague and 

^ Politis, Bucharest, 15 Aug. (OS.), 1914. 

2 Dragoumis, Petersburg, 17 Aug. (O.S.), 1914- 

^ Dragoumis, ibid. 



20 grp:fxe and the allies 

unofftcial hint, destined to assume imposing dimensions 
later on. At this stage, however, the whole project 
lacked precise outhne. One plan of the reconstructed 
League included Rumania — who also was to make con- 
cessions to Bulgaria and to receive compensations at the 
expense of Austria ; and the League was to be brought 
into the field on the side of the Entente. Another plan 
had less ambitious aims : Servia and Greece by conciliating 
Bulgaria were to prevent a combination of Rumania, 
Bulgaria, and Turkey, or of Bulgaria and Turkey, on the 
side of the Central Powers. The more sanguine plan was 
especially cherished by Great Britain ; the other by 
Russia, who feared a Rumano-Bulgaro-Turkish com- 
bination against her. But the key-stone in both was 
Bulgaria, whose co-operation, or at least neutrality, was 
to be purchased at the cost of Servia and Greece.^ Mean- 
while, the less serious the Entente Powers' hopes for 
Turkey's neutrahty, the more hvely their anxiety must 
have been about 13ulgaria's attitude ; and it is not im- 
probable that in repelhng King Constantine s offer, they 
were actuated not so much by the ^^ish to avoid Turkish 
hostiht}^ — the reason given — as b}' the fear lest the stipula- 
tion which accompanied his offer, if accepted, should 
provoke Bulgaria. 

Higlily speculative as this project was, it might have 
materiahzed if Serbs and Greeks were willing to pay the 
price. But neither Serbs nor Greeks would think of such 
a thing. At the mere report that they were about to be 
asked to cede Cavalla, the Greeks went mad, and ]\I. 
Venizelos himself, though he favoured the reconstruction 
of the Balkan League, loudl}^ threatened, if the demand 
was formulated, to resign. Whereupon, his consternation 
having been transmitted to the Entente capitals, he 
received an assurance that no demand of the sort would 
be made- — for the present. 

1 Gennadius, London, 8, lo, 15, 23 Aug. ; Romanos, Paris, 31 July, 
16 Aug. ; Dragoumis, Petersburg, 31 July, 12, 20 Aug. ; Naoum, 
Sofia, 31 July, 11, 20, 23 Aug. ; Alexand'ropoulos, Nish, 18 Aug. ; 
Papadiamantopoulos, Bucharest, 25 July (O.S.), 1914. 

2 Venizelos to Greek Legations, Petersburg, Bordeaux, London, 
2 Sept. (O.S.), 1914. 



CIIArTER III 

TWO tasks now lay before the Allies in the East : 
to help Servia, and to attack Turkey, who had 
entered the War on 31 October. Both enterprises 
were " under consideration " — which means that the 
Entente Cabinets were busy discussing both and unable 
to decide on either. Distracted by conflicting aims and 
hampered by inadequate resources, they could not act 
except tentatively and in an experimental fashion. 

At the beginning of November the representatives of 
France, England, and Russia at Athens collectively 
seconded a Servian appeal for assistance to M. Venizelos, 
wliich the Greek Premier met with a flat refusal. He gave 
his reasons : such action, he said, would infallibly expose 
Greece to aggression from Bulgaria, and it was more than 
probable that an automatic agreement between Bulgaria 
and Turkey might engage the Greek army in a struggle 
with the forces of three Powers at once. Even if the 
attack came from Bulgaria alone, he added, the Greek 
army needed three weeks to concentrate at Salonica and 
another month to reach the theatre of the Austro-Servian 
conflict, and in that interval the Bulgarian army, invading 
Servia, would render impossible all contact between the 
Greek and Servian armies. The Entente Ministers en- 
deavoured to overcome these objections by assuring M. 
Venizelos that Bulgaria could not possibly range herself 
against Russia, France, and England ; and besides, they 
said, their Governments could ask Rumania to guarantee 
Bulgarian neutrality. M. Venizelos replied that, if the 
co-operation of Bulgaria with Rumania and Greece were 
secured, then the Greeks could safely assist Servia in an 
effective manner ; or the next best thing might be an 
undertaking by Rumania to guarantee the neutrality of 
Bulgaria ; and he proceeded to ascertain the Rumanian 
Government's views on the subject. He learnt that, in 



22 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

answer to a question put to the Rumanian Premier by the 
Entente Ministers at Bucharest, " whether he would 
undertake to guarantee the neutraHty of Bulgaria towards 
Greece if the latter .Power sent succour to the Serbs," M. 
Bratiano, while professing the greatest goodwill towards 
Greece and the Entente, declined to give any such under- 
taking.^ Add another important fact to which the Greek 
Government had its attention very earnestly drawn about 
this time — that not only Servia, but even Belgium, ex- 
perienced the greatest difficulty in procuring from France 
the munitions and money necessary for continuing the 
struggle. '^ 

In the circumstances, there was no alternative for M. 
Venizelos but to adopt the prudent attitude which on other 
occasions he was pleased to stigmatize as " pro-German." 
True, his refusal to move in November was hardly con- 
sistent with his eagerness to do so in August ; but, taking 
into account liis temperament, we must assume that he 
had made that rash d litre gracieux offer bhndfold. Events 
had not borne out his predictions of a speedy victory, and, 
though liis faith in the idtimate triumph of the Entente 
remained unshaken, he had come to reahze that, for the 
present at any rate, it behoved Hellas to walk warily.^ 

Some ten weeks passed, and then (23 January, 1915) 
Sir Edward Grey again asked M. Venizelos for assistance to 
Servia in the common interest ; as Austria and Germany 
seemed bent on crushing her, it w-as essential that all who 
could should lend her their support. If Greece ranged 
herself by Servia's side as her ally, the Entente Powers 
would willingly accord her very important territorial 
concessions on the Asia Minor Coast. The matter was 

^ Psycha to Venizelos, Bucharest, 23 Oct./6 Nov. ; Venizelos 
to Greek Legations, London, Bordeaux, Petersburg, 24 Oct./ 
7 Nov., 1914. 

^ Romanes, Bordeaux, 19 Nov., 1914. 

^ He explained, three years afterwards, that at the time of making 
his offer of 18 Aug., 191 4, he bore in mind " the impossibility of going 
to Servia's assistance on account of the danger from Bulgaria." 
— Orations, p. 93. But precisely similar was the objection to going 
against Turkey without a guarantee of Bulgarian neutrality : only 
the Bulgars, in the one case, would have been on Greece's left flank 
and in the other on the right. The truth seems to be that the 
vision of M. Venizelos lacked the penetration which, in matters of 
this sort, can only some from long study and reflection. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 23 

urgent, for, were Servia crushed, though the ultimate 
defeat of Austria and Germany would not be thereby 
affected, there would during the War come about in the 
Balkans accomplished facts which would make it difficult 
or even impossible for either Servia or Greece to obtain 
afterwards arrangements as favourable as those actually 
in view. Conversely, the immediate participation of Greece 
and Rumania in the War would, by bringing about the 
defeat of Austria, secure the reahzation of Greek, Rumanian 
and Servian aspirations. To render such participation 
effective, it was desirable that Bulgaria should be assured 
that, if Servian and Greek aspirations elsewhere were 
realized, she would obtain satisfactory compensations in 
Macedonia, on condition that she came in or at least 
maintained a not malevolent neutraUty. But the question 
of compensations affected chiefly Servia : all he asked of 
M. Venizelos on that point was not to oppose any conces- 
sions that Servia might be inchned to make to Bulgaria. 

Whether this semi-official request amounted to a proposal 
or was merely in the nature of a suggestion is hard to 
determine. But M. Venizelos seems to have understood 
it in the latter sense, for in spealdng of it he made use of 
the very informal adjective " absurd." No one, indeed, 
could seriously beUevc that Bulgaria would be induced to 
co-operate, or even to remain neutral, by the hypothetical 
and partial promises which Sir Edward Grey indicated ; 
and with a potentially hostile Bulgaria in her flank Greece 
could not march to Servia's aid. So M. Venizelos, under 
the impulse of ambition, set his energetic brain to work, 
and within a few hours produced a scheme calculated to 
correct the " absurdity " of the British notion, to earn the 
gratitude of the Entente to himself, and an Asiatic Empire 
for his country. It was nothing less than a complete 
reversal of his former attitude : that Greece should not 
only withdraw her opposition to concessions on the part 
of Servia, but should voluntarily sacrifice Cavalla to the 
Bulgars, provided they joined the Alhes forthwith. This 
scheme he embodied in a lengthy memorandum which he 
submitted to the King. 

M. Venizelos recognized how painful a sacrifice the 
cession of Cavalla would be, and therefore he had to use very 
strong arguments to commend it to his Majesty. In the 



24 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

first place, he emphasized the imperative need of helping 
Ser\ia, since, should SerNia be crushed, the Austro-German 
armies might be tempted to advance on Salonica, or 
Bulgaria might be invited to take possession of Servian 
Macedonia, in which case Greece would have either to let 
the Balkan balance of power go by the board, or, in ac- 
cordance with her Treaty, go to Servia's assistance under 
much more disadvantageous conditions. In the second 
place, he argued that the sacrifice of Ca\-alla was well worth 
maldng, since Greece would eventually receive in Asia 
Minor compensations which would render her greater and 
more powerful than the most sanguine Greek could ewn 
have dreamt a few years before ; and in Macedonia itself 
the loss of Cavalla could be partially compensated for by 
a rectification of frontiers involving the acquisition from 
Servia of the Doiran-Ghevgheli district. 

In the event of Bulgaria accepting Cavalla and the 
Servian concessions as the price of her alUance, I\I. Veni- 
zelos argued that the outcome would be a reconstructed 
League of the Balkan States which would not only ensure 
them against defeat, but would materially contribute to 
the \ictory of the Entente Powers : even the ideal of a 
lasting Balkan Federation might be reahzed by a racial 
readjustment through an interchange of populations. 
Should Bulgarian greed prove impervious, Greece must 
secure the co-operation of Rumania, without wliich it 
would be too risky for her to niove.^ 

Sacrifices of territorj^ in King Constantine's opinion, 
were out of the question ; but he thought that, if Rumania 
agreed to co-operate, it might be possible for Greece to go 
to Servia's assistance, as in that case Bulgaria could per- 
haps be held in check by Rumanian and Greek forces left 
along her northern and southern frontiers. The Bucharest 
Government was accordingl}^ sounded, and returned an 
answer too evasive to justify rehance on its co-operation. 
So ^l. Venizelos fell back on the scheme of buying Bul- 
garian co-operation by the cession of Cavalla, and submitted 
a second memorandum to the King. 

If the first of these documents was remarkable for its 
optimism, the second might justly be described as a 

^ First Memorandum, 11/24 Jan., in the Nea Hellas, 21 March 
(O.S.), 1915. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 25 

masterpiece of faith pure and undefiled by any contact 
with sordid facts. Its theme is the magnitude of the 
compensations which Greece might expect in return for 
her entry into the War : "I have a feeling," says the 
author, " that the concessions in Asia Minor suggested 
by Sir Edward Grey can, especially if we submit to saciifices 
to the Bulgars, assume such dimensions as to double the 
size of Greece. I behove that if we demanded " — he 
specifies in detail a vast portion of Western Asia Minor — 
" our demand would probably be granted." He calcu- 
lated that the surface of this territory exceeds 125,000 
(the figure was soon raised to 140,000) square kilometres, 
while the area to be ceded in Macedonia did not exceed 
2,000 square kilometres, and that loss would be further 
halved by the acquisition from Servia of the Doiran- 
Ghevgheli district, which covered some 1,000 square 
kilometres. Thus, in point of territory, Greece would be 
giving up a hundred and fortieth part of what she would 
be getting. In point of population also Greece would be 
receiving twenty-five times as much as she would be 
sacrificing — an accretion of 800,000 as against a loss of 
30,000 souls ; and that loss could be obviated by obUging 
Bulgaria to bu3^ up the property of the Cavalla Greeks, 
who, he had no doubt, would gladly emigrate en masse to 
Asia Minor, to reinforce the Greek element there. How 
was it possible to hesitate about seizing such an opportu- 
nity — an opportunity for the creation of a Greece powerful 
on land and supreme in the iEgean Sea — " an opportunity^ 
verily presented to us b}/ Divine Providence for the realiza- 
tion of our most audacious national ideals " — presented 
to-day and never hkely to occur again ? 

M. Venizelos did not doubt but that a transaction 
which appeared so desirable and feasible to him must 
appear equally desirable and feasible to others : and great 
was his surprise to find that such was by no means the case. 
The General Staff, he complained, " seem, strangely, not 
attracted strongly by these views." And the same might 
be said of everyone who judged, not by the glow of pro- 
phetic insight, but by a cold examination of facts. When 
Asia Minor was first mentioned to the Greek Minister in 
London, that shrewd diplomat answered : " Greece 
would not commit such a folly, for the day she set foot in 



26 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Asia Minor she would find herself up against Great Powers 
as well as against Turkey."^ At Athens to this objection 
wore added others not less weighty. The General Staff 
pointed out that Greece had neither the men nor the money 
required for the permanent occupation and eflicient 
administration of that distant region. They feared both 
the difficulties of defending those Turkish territories in 
Asia and the danger of future attack from Bulgaria in 
Europe. In short, they held that Greece by embarking 
on what they aptly termed a Colonial policy would be 
undertaking responsibilities wholly incommensurate with 
her resources.* 

Dangers and difficulties ! cried M. Venizelos : can you 
allow such things to stand in the way of national ideals ? 
And he proceeded to demolish the obstructions : the 
administrative success achieved in Macedonia proved that 
the resources of Greece were equal to fresh responsibilities ; 
the Turks of Asia Minor — after the total disappearance 
of the Ottoman Empire, which he deemed inevitable — 
w'ould become contented and law-abiding Greek subjects, 
and at all events the local Greek population would in a very 
short space of time supply all the forces needed to main- 
tain order in Asia, lea\dng the main Greek arm}^ free for 
the defence of the European frontiers. During that brief 
period of transition, he thought it easy to form an agree- 
ment \vith the Entente Powers for military assistance 
against a Bulgarian attack, or, even without the Entente, 
" should the Bulgars be so demented by the Lord as to 
attempt aggression, I have not the slightest doubt that 
Servia, moved by her treaty obligations, her interests, 
and her gratitude for our present aid, would again co- 
operate with us to humble Bulgarian insolence."' 

Thus at a moment's notice M. Venizelos became an 
impassioned advocate of the poUcy of which he had liitherto 
been an impassioned opponent, and he would have us 
believe that the King, persuaded by liis eloquence, autho- 
rised him to carry out his new plan. Be that as it may, 
M. Venizelos did not avail himself of this permission. 

^ Gennadius, London, lo Aug. (O.S.), 1914. 
^ Orations, p. 43. 

' Second Memorandum, 17/30 Jan., in the Nea Hellas, 22 March 
(O.S.), 1915. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 27 

For almost simultaneously came the news of a Bulgarian 
loan contracted in the Austro-Gemian market — an event 
which made him abandon all hopes of conciliating Bulgaria 
and profiting by the British overture. During the months 
when the revival of the Balkan League was perhaps still 
practicable, he had combated the only expedient wliich 
might have given it a chance of realization : by the time 
he became a convert, it was too late. 

The Balkan situation remained as it was before Sir 
Edward Grey's suggestion : so much so that, when a few 
days later the Entente Powers again asked Greece to go 
to Servia's rehef, offering her as security against the 
Bulgarian danger to transport to Macedonia a French and 
a British division, M. Venizelos, considering such security 
insufficient, again refused;^ a refusal which, justified 
though it was, gave great umbrage.'^ 

While the Greek Premier was going through these mental 
evolutions, the scene of Entente activity shifted : and his 
flexible mind perforce veered in a new direction. 

As far back as 3 November, the outer forts of the 
Dardanelles had been subjected to a brief bombardment 
\vith the object of testing the range of their guns ; and by 
25 November the idea of a serious attack on the Straits 
had engaged the attention of the British War Council. 
But no decision was arrived at until January, when Russia, 
hard pressed by the Turks on the Caucasus, begged for a 
demonstration against them in some other quarter. In 
compliance \\ith this appeal, the British War Council then 
decided to attempt to force the Dardanelles by means of 
the Navy alone. After the failure of the naval attack 
of 19 February, hov/ever, it was reahzed that the opera- 
tions would have to be supplemented by military action ;^ 
and as the magnitude of the enterprise became clearer 
and the troops at the disposal of England and France 
were very hmited, the need of securing Balkan alhes 
became more obvious. 

From the first greater importance was attached to 
Bulgarian co-operation than to Greek. Even the grant of 

1 See his own statement in the Nea Hellas, 22 March (O.S.), 1915. 
- Dragoumis, Petrograd, 16 Feb., 191 5. 

8 Dardanelles Commisiion, First Report, pp. 14-5, 31-3; Final 
Report, pp. 6-8. 



28 GREFXE AND THE ALLIES 

a loan to Sofia by the Central Powers appears to have 
produced little or no impression upon those concerned. 
Long afterwards it was admitted as a self-evident proposi- 
tion that belligerents do not lend to neutrals without Ix^ing 
satisfied that their money will not be used against tliem- 
selves. But at the time, after a momentary shock, the 
Entente Governments were deluded, either by Bulganan 
diplomacy or by their own wishes, into the belief that 
" Bulgaria would not conmiit the stupidity to refuse the 
advantages offered."^ Nor, in thus reckoning on en- 
lightened bad faith, were thej' alone. M. Venizelos, who 
a moment before had declared that the loan had opened 
his eyes to the fact " that Bulgaria was definitely com- 
mitted to the Central Powers," now felt quite sure that, 
" notwithstanding the loan, Bulgaria was capable of 
betraying her then friends and turning towards those who 
promised her greater profits."^ Anxious, therefore, to 
forestall the Bulgars, and concerned by the thought that 
he had been obliged on three occasions to dechne requests 
from the Entente, he spontaneously proposed, on i Alarch, 
to offer three Greek di\'isions for the Dardanelles ex- 
pedition, stating that this proposal was made with King 
Constantine's assent.^ 

As a matter of fact, neither the King nor his General 
Staff approved of M. Venizelos's strategy'. Having made a 
systematic study of the Dardanelles problem, they judged 
that the Allies' enterpri.se, even under the most skilful 
handling, presented but few chances, and those chances 
had been discounted in advance by utter want of skilful 
handling : the bombardment of the Straits in the pre\dous 
November had given the Turks warning of the blow and 
ample time to prepare against it — and the Turks were no 
longer the happy-go-lucky fellows upon whose inefficiency 
one might formerly have counted ; they now mounted 
guard over the gates of their capital equipped with German 
guns and commanded by German oflicers. The enterprise 
was likely to become more hazardous still by arousing the 
jealousy of the Bulgars. If, therefore, Greece did join in, 
besides all the other risks, she v/ould expose herself to a 

' Deville, pp. 163, 215. 
^ Orations, pp. 103, 104. 
2 Dardanelles Commission, Supplement to First Report, p. 3. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 29 

Bulgarian assault ; and with a considerable portion of her 
forces engaged in Gallipoli, and no prospect either of 
Servian or of Rumanian assistance, how was she to face that 
assault ? 

The King's disapproval was known to no one better than 
to M. Venizelos himself. But, for all that, he felt entitled 
to tell the British Minister at Athens that he had the King's 
assent. Here is his own explanation : " The King was 
opposed to the enterprise. I sought another interview in 
order to speak to him again on the subject, and took with 
me a third memorandum " — which has never been published, 
and cannot yet be pubhshed. " I asked him to let me read 
it to him, for in it were set forth fully all the arguments 
which, in my opinion, imposed co-operation. I read it. 
I saw that the King became agitated. For — I must do him 
that justice — he rarely remained unconvinced when face 
to face with me. So profound was the emotion with which 
I spoke, so powerful were the arguments which I used that 
the King, greatly moved, said to me : ' Well, then, in the 
name of God.' That is, he assented."^ 

However, the General Staff remained unconvinced ; and 
Colonel Metaxas, a brilliant soldier, then Acting-Chief of 
the Staff, resigned as a protest against military proposals 
being made by a Greek minister to other countries A\ithout 
previous consultation with the military experts of his own. 
M. Venizelos, on his part, was indignant that mere soldiers 
should presmne to meddle with the plans of statesmen ; 
his view being that the Staff's business was simply to carry 
out the poHcy of the Government. Nevertheless, im- 
pressed by this resignation, he suggested the meeting of a 
Crown Council composed of all the ex-Premiers, that their 
opinions might be heard. The Council met on 3 March 
and again on 5 March. At the first sitting M. Venizelos 
admitted that the objections of the miUtary experts, with- 
out altering his own convictions, might still inspire doubt 
as to which pohcy was preferable : neutrality or inter- 
vention. Should the poUcy of neutraHty be adopted, it 
must be carried on by a new Cabinet, to which he would 
accord his parhamentary support. At the second sitting 
he endeavoured to remove the objections of the miUtary 
experts by reducing his proposed contribution to the 
^ Orations, pp. 105-6. 



30 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Gallipoli expedition from tliree divisions to one, which 
should be replaced in the existing cadres by a division of 
reserves, so as to leave the Greek Army practically intact 
against a possible attack from Bulgaria. And having 
thus modified the conditions of intervention, he refused 
to entertain any other poUcy or to support a Cabinet 
pledged to neutrality.^ 

Momentarily infected by the Cretan's enthusiasm, 
nearly all present urged upon the King the acceptance of 
his proposal ; one of them, M. Rallis, even going so far as 
to say : " Sire, pray consider that you have a Government 
clothed with the full confidence of the nation. Let it 
carry out its policy. Else, you will incur undue responsi- 
bihty." The King's answer was : " If you wish it, I will 
abdicate."^ He would rather give up his crown than 
assume the responsibility of sanctioning a poHcy wliich his 
whole mihtary training and experience told him was 
insane and suicidal : how justly, the event soon showed. 
The losses of men and ships which Gallipoli cost far ex- 
ceeded the whole of Greece's mihtary and naval resources ; 
and if that cost proved more than embarrassing to England 
and France, it would have Uterally ruined Greece. M. 
RalUs and the other ex-Premiers in less than a fortnight 
gratefully recognised the justness of the King's opposition 
to their views,' and thenceforth parted company with M. 
Venizelos. 

Meanwhile M. Venizelos hastened from the Palace 
to the British Legation, and, " in order to save time till he 
could make an otficial demarche," he made to the Entente 
Ministers there assembled a semi-official communication 
to this effect : " Following the natural evolution of its 
pohcy of solidarity with the Entente Powers, the Royal 
Government has judged that the Dardanelles operations 
afford it a favourable occasion to translate its sentiments 
into deeds by abandoning its neutraUty and offering its 
co-operation in that enterprise with the whole of its Fleet 
and one division of its army." All this, " though the King 

^ See Extracts from the Crown Council Minutes, in the Balkan 
Review, Dec, 1920, pp. 384-5, which supplement M. Venizelos's 
very meagre account of these proceedings in Grati»ns, pp. 107-8. 

'^ Oralions, pp. 266-7. 

^ Ibid. pp. 267-8. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 31 

has not yet given his adhesion."^ His hurry arose from the 
beUefthatthcAUieswouldreachConstantinopleinafewdays. 

But the General Staff still remained unconvinced. Yes, 
they said, one division to begin with ; but what if the AlUes 
get stuck in the Straits, as we believe they will be, and call 
upon us for more ? And, once we join them, how can we 
refuse to supply their needs ? We shall be incurring 
imlimited liabilities. So the King, who had full confidence 
in his miUtary advisers, and who could not bring himself 
to look upon the Gallipoli adventure as a " serious enter- 
prise,"* dechned his adhesion to M. Venizelos's plan ; and 
M. Venizelos resigned in wrath (6 March). 

Then came the Entente replies to his communication ; 
from wluch it appeared that, as in August, 1914, so now 
the impetuous Cretan ran ahead of the Powers : that, 
whilst he was inveighing against everyone who would 
not let Greece co-operate with them, they had not yet even 
agreed as to whether they desired her co-operation. 

England regarded the communication as a merely 
prehminary and preparatory step, and waited for a definite 
proposal after the King's decision, when she would consult 
with her alhes. France and Russia insisted on the impos- 
sibility of Greece hmiting her participation to a war 
against Turkey alone : to be an effective partner of the 
Entente, Greece must be prepared to fight Austria and 
Germany also. France added that the question of the 
participation of Greece in the Dardanelles enterprise could 
not be a useful subject of discussion between the AlHes 
until a definite decision by the Greek Government was 
taken. Russia did not even envisage the usefulness of 
such a discussion. M. Sazonow pointedly declared that 
he did not consider Greek co-operation in the Dardanelles 
at all necessary, that the question of the Straits and of 
Constantinople ought to be settled by the Entente Powers 
alone without the intervention of third parties, and that 
Russia did not desire the entry of a Greek army into 
Constantinople, though she had no objection to its operat- 
ing against Smyrna or elsewhere.* 

^ Venizelos to Greek Legations, London, Paris, Petrograd, 20 
Feb./5 March, 1915. 

' Orations, p. 267. 

* Gennadius, London, 21 Feb. ; Sicilianos, Paris, 22 Feb. ; Drag- 
ommis, Petrograd, 22 Feb. (O.S.), 1915. 



82 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Some days later, it is true, M. Delcass6 affirmed that he 
had overcome Russia's repugnance;^ but, though it is 
probable that Russia, yielding to pressure, would liave 
accepted the participation of Greek troops, she made no 
secret of her satisfaction at not ha\ing had to do so : 
" We heartily consent to your receiving large compensa- 
tions in Asia ]\Iinor," said the Russian Minister at Athens, 
in the presence of his British colleague, to a high official 
of the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs. " I3ut as to 
Constantinople, we prefer that you should not come there ; 
it would afterwards be painful for you and disagreeable 
for everybody to turn you out."^ 

M. Venizelos knew these views perfectly well, and did 
not covet Constantinople : what he coveted, so far as 
material gains went, w-ere the large compensations in Asia 
Minor. ^ There lay the chief objective of his strategy, 
and its net outcome was to widen the breach between him 
and those elements in the country which still bcheved that 
the pohcy of Greece must be governed by the solid neces- 
sities of the Balkan situation, not by nebulous visions of 
Imperiahst expansion. 

^ White Book, No. 37. 

" " Conversation with M. Demidoff," Polilia, Athens, 25 Feb./ 
10 March, 1915. 

' Orations, pp. 108, 1 13-14. 



CHAPTER IV 

IMMEDIATELY after the resignation of M. Venizelos 
it was decided to dissolve tlie Chamber and to have 
General Elections, in which for the first time the 
territories conquered in 1912-13 would participate. Mean- 
while, the King called upon M. Gounaris, a statesman of 
considerable abihty, though with none of the versatiUty 
of mind and audacity of character which distinguished his 
predecessor, to carry on the Government and to preside 
over the elections. Under ordinary circumstances these 
would have taken place at once. But owing to the need 
of preparing electoral hsts for the new provinces, they were 
delayed till 13 June, and owing to a serious illness of King 
Constantine which supervened — causing intense anxiety 
throughout the nation and bringing poHtical Hfe to a 
standstill — two more months passed before the new 
Parliament met. The interval proved fruitful in develop- 
ments of far-reaching importance. 

On its accession to power, the new Government issued 
a communique, announcing that it would pursue the policy 
adopted at the beginning of the War : a policy of neutrality 
qualified by a recognition of the obhgations imposed by the 
Servian Alliance, and a determination to serve the interests 
of Greece without endangering her territorial integrity.'- 
And as the Entente representatives at Athens expressed 
a certain disappointment at not finding in the communique 
any allusion to the Entente Powers,^ M. Zographos, Minister 
for Foreign Affairs, in order to remove all uneasiness on 
that score, instructed the Greek representatives in London, 
Paris, and Petrograd to assure the respective Governments 
categorically that the new Ministry did not intend to 
depart in any way from the pro-Entente attitude dictated 
by hereditary sentiments and interests ahke. The only 

1 White Book, No. 34. 

2 " Conversation with M. Demidoff," Politis, 25 Feb./io March, 
1915- 

3 33 



84 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

difference between the Venizelos and the Gounaris Cabinets 
— the difference which brought about the recent crisis and 
the change of Government — was one regarding the danger 
of immediate action, but did not affect the basis of Greek 
pohcy. ' 

That, by all the evidence available, was the truth. M. 
Gounaris thought as M. Venizelos thought, as King 
Constantine thought, as, indeed, every Greek capable of 
forming an opinion on international affairs thought — 
namely that, if Greece were to fight at all, interest and senti- 
ment alike impelled her to fight on the side of the Entente. - 
The only question was whether she should enter the field 
then, and if so, on what conditions. 

M. Venizelos persisted in declaring that the Dardanelles 
expedition presented " a great, a unique opportunity," 
which he prayed, " God grant that Greece may not miss."^ 
His successors had no wish to miss the opportunity— if 
such it was. But neither had they any wish to leap in 
the dark. M. Gounaris and his colleagues lacked the 
Cretan's infinite capacity for taking chances. Even in 
war, where chance plays so great a part, little is gained 
except by calculation : the enterprise which is not care- 
fully meditated upon in all its details is rarely crowned 
with success. 

And so when, on 12 April, the representatives of the 
Entente signified to M. Gounaris their readiness to give 
Greece, in return for her co-operation against Turkey, the 
" territorial acquisitions in the vilayet of Aidin," suggested 

1 White Book, No. 35. 

2 The best proof is to be found in the Venizelist White Book, 
No. 36, — an exhaustive memorandum by M. Streit on the proba- 
biUties of the War, dated 13/26 March, 1915. It is both striking 
and illuminating that, while in dealing with the attitude of Bulgaria, 
the author considers three alternatives: (i) Bulgaria in alliance 
with the Entente. (2) Bulgaria as neutral. (3) Bulgaria as an 
enemy of the Entente. In dealing with the attitude of Greece he 
does not for a single moment contemplate more than two alterna- 
tives : (i) Greece as an ally of the Entente. (2) Greece as neutral. 
Further, in the course of the argument which follows, M. Streit 
discusses a possible understanding between Greece on the one part 
and Rumania and Bulgaria on the other, with the object either of a 
common neutrality or, failing that, of a simultaneous entry into 
war in favour of the Entente, " on whose side alone we can range 
ourselves." 

^ See the Nea Hellas, 22 March (O.S.), 1915. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 35 

to his predecessor, M. Gounaris tried to ascertain exactly 
the form of the co-operation demanded and the extent of 
the " territorial acquisitions in the vilayet of Aidin " 
offered. The British Minister replied as to the first point 
that, having no instructions, he was unable to give any 
details ; and as for the second, that it referred to the 
" very important concessions on the Asia Minor coast " 
mentioned in Sir Edward Grey's communication of 
January. On being further pressed, he said it meant 
" Smyrna and a substantial portion of the hinterland " — 
a definition with which his Russian and French colleagues 
were inchned to concur, though both said that they had no 
instructions on the subject. Then M. Gounaris asked 
whether their Excellencies had transmitted to their 
respective Governments M. Venizelos's interpretation of 
Sir Edward Grey's offer regarding its geographical limits. 
The British Minister repHed that he had no official know- 
ledge of that interpretation ; he had only heard of it semi- 
officially and had transmitted it to his Government, but 
had received no answer. The Russian Minister replied 
that he had transmitted nothing on the subject to his 
Government, as he had been informed of it in but a vague 
way by the late Cabinet. The French Minister stated that 
the subject had never been mentioned to him, and conse- 
quently he had not been in a position to make any com- 
munication to his Government.^ Thus the grandiose 
Asiatic dominion of which M. Venizelos spoke so eloquently 
dwindled to " Smyrna and a substantial portion of the 
hinterland." 

However, the King, the General Staff, and the Cabinet 
went on with their work, and were joined by Prince George, 
King Constantine's brother, who had come from Paris to 
Athens for the express purpose of discussing with the 
Government the question of entering the war against 
Turkey on the basis of guarantees to be determined by 
negotiations of which Paris might be the centre. In that 
order of ideas, they had already indicated as the best 
guarantee the simultaneous entry of Bulgaria, who, 
according to news from the Entente capitals, was on the 
point of joining. But this condition having proved 

^ Conversation entre le President du Conseil et les Ministres des 
Puissances de la Triple Entente, 30 7nars/i2 avril, 1915. 



8(5 CHKKCK AND TIIK ALLIES 

unrealisablc — Bulgaria refusing to be bought except, if 
at all, at a price of Greek territory which Greece would on 
no account pay — they dropped it and set about consider- 
ing by what other combinations they could come in with- 
out comproniising their country's vital interests. The 
upshot of their deliberations was a proposal, dated 
14 April, to the following efi'ect : 

If the Allies would give a formal undertaking to 
guarantee during the War, and for a certain y)criod after 
its termination, the integrity of her tenitories, Greece 
would join them with all her miUtary and naval forces in a 
war against Turkey, the defmite objective of which would 
be the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire ; for, unless the 
Ottonjan Empire disappeared, the Greek hold on Smyrna 
would not be very firm. It was further stipulated that the 
Allies should define the territorial compensations as well 
as the facilities regarding money and war material which 
they would accord Greece in order to enable her to do her 
part of belligerent efficiently. On these conditions Greece 
would assume the obhgation to enter the field as soon as 
the Allies were ready to combine their forces with hers. 
All mihtary details were to be settled between the respec- 
tive Staffs and embodied in a joint Military Convention, 
with this sole reservation that, if Bulgaria continued to 
stand out, the Greek Army's sphere of action could not be 
placed outside European Turkey. In an explanatory 
Note added a few da3's later, at the instance of the General 
Staff, stress was laid upon the ambiguous attitude of 
Bulgaria, on account of which the opinion was expressed 
that the Alhes should be prepared to contribute forces 
which, combined with the Greek, would equal the united 
Turkish and Bulgarian forces, and that the sphere of 
Greek action should be limited to the west of the Gallipoli 
Peninsula ; but it was agreed that, if the AHies wished it, 
they should have the mihtary assistance of Greece on the 
Gallipoli Peninsula too, provided that they landed their 
own troops first. ^ 

Of these proposals, which were not put forward as final, 
but rather as a basis of discussion, the Entente Powers 
did not condescend to take any notice. Only unofficially 

^ Zographos to Greek Minister, Paris, 1/14 April, with the 
Proposal of same date ; Orations, pp. 67-9. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 37 

the Greek Minister in Paris, on approaching M. Delcasse, 
was told that, since the Hellenic Government viewed the 
Dardanelles enterprise in a different hght from them, an 
understanding seemed impossible and discussion useless ; 
for the rest, that enterprise, for which England had desired 
the co-operation of the Greeks, was now carried on without 
them, and the situation was no longer the same as it was 
some days before. Alarmed by this snub, and anxious 
to dissipate any misunderstandings and doubts as to its 
dispositions towards the Entente, the Hellenic Government 
assured M. Delcasse that it continued always animated by 
the same desire to co-operate and would like to make new 
proposals, but before doing so it wished to know what 
proposals would be acceptable. M. Delcasse rephed that 
he could not even semii-officially say what proposals would 
be acceptable.^ But M. Guillemin, his former collaborator 
and later French Minister at Athens, then on a flying visit 
there, advised M. Zographos to abandon all conditions and 
take pot luck with the Ahies. 

This notion succeeded to the extent that Greece proposed 
to offer to enter the war against Turkey with her naval 
forces only, reserving her army for her own protection 
against Bulgaria. - The Entente Powers intimated through 
M. Delcass^ that they would accept such an offer, provided 
it was made without any conditions. '^ Before deciding, 
Greece wanted to be assured that the integrity of her 
territory during the War and in the treaty of peace would 
be respected, that all the necessary money and material 
would be forthcoming, and that the compensations in Asia 
Minor allotted to her would represent approximately the 
area indicated by M. Venizelos. If it was found that on 
these three points the Hellenic Government interpreted the 
intentions of the Entente Powers correctly, it would im- 
mediately submit a Note in which the three points would 
be mentioned as going of their own accord, so that the 
official reply of the Entente might cover, not only the 
offer, but also its interpretation thus formulated.' M. 

^ Romanes, Paris, 17/30 April, 191 5. 

2 Zographos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, 
18 April/i May, 1915. 
^ Romanos, Paris, 4 May (N.S.), 1915. 
* Zographos to Greek Legation, Paris, 22 April/5 May, 191 5. 



88 CiHEECK AND THE AIJJES 

Delcass6 refused to listen to any points : (iieece, he insisted 
irritably, should enter the alliance without conditions, 
coupling her otter simply with " hopes to have the benefit 
of full solidarity with her allies, whence results a guarantee 
of her territorial integrity," and " entrusting the full 
protection of her vital interests to the three Entente 
Powers." The formula was not incompatible with the 
best construction which one chose to put upon it ; and 
Prince George — who had returned to Paris directly after 
the first offer and acted as a personal representative of 
King Constantine, together with the official representative 
of the Hellenic Government — warmly advocated its 
adoption, pleading that, if Greece did come in M-ithout 
delay and without conditions, she might safely trust the 
Allies. 1 

WTiether Prince George's plea sprang from blind faith 
or from far-sighted fear, is a question upon which the 
sequel may throw some light ; for the present enough to 
state that it produced no effect. In a matter concerning 
the integrity of national territory acquired so dearly, 
King Constantine felt that he could not afford to allow any 
ambiguity or uncertainty : he was willing to waive the 
other two points, but not that. He therefore begged his 
brother to see M. Poincare and soHcit in his name the 
President's help to secure that indispensable assurance. 
" The essential thing," he said, "is that the Entente 
Powers should give us a solemn promise that they \v\\l 
respect and make others respect, until the re-estabhshment 
of peace, our territorial integrity, and that they will not 
permit any damage to it by the future Peace Treat}'. 
Remark to him that Greece has the right to be astonished 
that friendly Powers ready to accept her as an ally 
dechne to explain themselves clearly with her."' WTiat 
was in the King's mind may be seen from the President's 
answer : The Powers did not wish to give a formal pledge 
in as many w'ords lest the Bulgars should be stirred to 

^ Prince George to Zographos, Paris, 24 April/7 May, 1915. 

2 King Constantine to Prince George, 27 April/io May, 1915. 
From this document we also learn that on 7/20 April, M. Poincare 
had assured the Prince that such a guarantee would certainly be 
given to Greece, " pour la penode de la guerre et durant la periode 
des negociations de la paix." 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 39 

hostile action on realizing that Cavalla was lost to 
them. ^ 

Prince George, in reporting M. Poincare's reply, added 
that the fear of any damage being inflicted on Greek 
territorial integrity by the future Peace Treaty was com- 
pletely devoid of foundation ; that, having himself expressed 
this fear, he had been answered : " How can you imagine 
that we could dispose of any part whatever of the territory 
of an aUied State without its consent ? "' 

These fair words failed to reassiu-e the Hellenic Govern- 
ment, which, after mature reflection, concluded that the 
formula suggested by M. Delcasse did not sufficiently safe- 
guard Greece against combinations likely to affect her 
territorial integrity. Its misgivings, which sprang in the 
first instance from the refusal of an explicit promise, 
were strengthened by the reason given by M. Poincare 
for that refusal. Consequently, it regretted that the 
Entente Powers did not see their way to come to an 
understanding for a collaboration which both sides desired, 
and repeated the assurance of a most benevolent neutrahty 
towards them.^ 

The Greek position was plain : Greece made proposals 
which constituted a break with the policy pursued 
dehberately since the beginning of the War — proposals 
for an active partnership, and in return put forward con- 
ditions which ultimately narrowed down to a mere pledge 
that she should not, as the end of it all, find herself robbed 
of Cavalla. There were certain things she could do and, 
therefore, \vished to do. There were certain things she 
could not do, and must be assured that she would not be 
made to do them. The Entente Powers, on the other hand, 
would bind themselves to nothing : which is preferable, 
they said in effect, the elaborate letter of a bargaining bond, 
or the spirit of spontaneous co-operation ; a legal obhga- 
tion or the natural union of hearts ? What Greece needs, 
rather than rigid clauses with a seal and a signature, is the 
steady, unwavering sympathy of her friends. If you 
come with us in a courageous forward campaign for the 

1 Prince George to King Constantine, 28 April/ii May, 1915. 

2 Ihid. 

^ Zographos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, 
30 April/ 1 3 May, 1915. 



40 CIUIECE AND THE ALLIES 

liberation of the world and righteousness, how could we 
fail to Ix^ with you in every single question affecting com- 
pensations or the integrity of 3'our territories ? That's 
all very fine, said the Greeks. But 

The mistrust of the Greeks was only too well founded. 
Although Bulgaria received arms from Austria and allowed 
the free passage of German munitions which enabled 
Turkey to carry on the defence of Gallipoh, tlie Entente 
Powers, satisfied with her Premier's explanations and 
professions of sympathy, would not give up the hope of 
seeing her on their side. Indeed, they were more hopeful 
than ever ; M. Poincare told Prince George he would not 
be surprised to see that happen " in two or three days,"^ 
and tlie British ]\Iinister at Sofia, being less hopeful and 
giving proofs of perspicacity, was replaced. 

About the same time it came to the knowledge of the 
Entente Governments that the Greek General Staff had 
resumed its efforts to induce the Ser\-ian mihtary 
authorities to concert measures for their mutual safety, 
pointing out that, the moment Bulgarian troops crossed 
the Servian frontier, it would be too late. Whereupon 
both Servia and Greece were sternly warned against 
wounding Bulgarian susceptibilities — and threatened with 
the displeasure of the Powers, who wanted to maintain 
between the Balkan States good fellowship — by the 
imhappy project which was once more to the fore. And ere 
the end of May both States learnt that their territories 
were actually on offer to Bulgaria. 

They received the intelhgence as might have been 
expected. The Ser\aan Premier, after consulting with the 
King, the Crown Prince, the Cabinet, and all prominent 
statesmen, informed the representatives of the Entente 
that Servia, in spite of her desire to meet the wishes of 
her friends and aUies, could not agree to put herself in their 
hands : the Constitution forbade the cession of territory 
without the sanction of the National Assembly. He asked 
them to imderstand that this decision was final, and that 
no future Servian Government could be counted upon to 

1 Prince George to King Constantine, Paris, 28 April/ii May, 
1915. M. Delcasse, then and for months afterwards, strove to gain 
over Bulgaria coiite que coiite, deploring the possession of Cavalla 
by Greece. See Deville, pp. 163, 218. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 41 

give a different answer, seeing that the present Government 
embraced every poUtical party. ^ 

Not less uncompromismg was the attitude of Greece. 
When the news reached Athens from Paris, the Hellenic 
Government could hardly beheve it : " It is so contrary 
to the principles of justice and liberty proclaimed by the 
Entente Powers — it seems to us absolutely impossible to 
despoil a neutral State, and one, too, whose friendly 
neutrality has been so consistently useful to the AUies, in 
order to buy with its territories the help of a people wliich 
has hitherto done all it could to help the enemies of the 
Entente. By what right, and on what ground could they 
mutilate our country ? The opinions once expressed by 
M. Venizclos, and since abandoned even by their author, 
do not constitute a sufficient ground for spohation. The 
whole thing is an unthinkable outrage : it shows that our 
fears were justified and our demand for a guarantee was 
absolutely indispensable . " ^ 

France, through M. Delcasse, and England, through 
Lord Crewe, sought to dispel these fears by formally 
disclaiming any intention to press upon Greece a mutila- 
tion to which she objected, and explaining that the eventual 
cession of Cavalla was only envisaged on condition that she 
should consent of her own accord. M. Zographos, however, 
who had done his best to bring Greece in on reasonable 
terms, convinced of his failure, resigned ; and after his 
departure the Gounaris Government would permit itself 
no further discussion upon the subject of intervention. 

During the lull that ensued, the Greek General Staff 
once more, in June, approached the Serxdan Government 
with detailed suggestions for a common plan against 
Bulgaria, dwelling on the necessity of a preliminary con- 
centration of sufficient Servian troops along the Graeco- 
Serbo-Bulgarian frontier to counterbalance the Bulgarian 
advantage in rapidity of mobihzation. These steps 
proved as ban^en as all the preceding : while Servia would 
not try to conjure the Bulgarian peril by the sacrifices 
which the Entente recommended, she could not provide 
against it by entering into arrangements with Greece 
which the Entente disapproved. 

^ Alexandropoulos, Nish, 15/28 May, 1915. 

* Zographos to Greek Legation, Paris, 15/28 May, 1915. 



42 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Matters came to a head on 3 August, when the British 
Minister at Sofia made to the Bulgarian Go\-ernment a 
formal offer of Cavalla and an undefined portion of its 
hinterland, as well as of Servian territory in Macedonia, 
stating that Great Britain would bring pressure to bear on 
those countries, and make the cession to them of any 
compensations elsewhere conditional on their consent to this 
transaction. 

The shock lost nothing of its intensity by being long 
anticipated. ]\I. Passitch, the Servian Premier, in an 
interview with the Greek iMinister at Nish, expressed his 
profound dismay at the corner into which Servia was 
driven ; much as she resented this proposal, the fact that 
she was entirely dependent on the Entente — whose high- 
handed methods he did not fail to criticize — forced her to 
give it consideration. 

If Servia had been dismayed, Greece was enraged. M. 
Gounaris addressed a strongly-worded remonstrance to 
the British ^Minister at Athens, reminding him that in May 
his Government had protested against the offer of Greek 
territory to Bulgaria, and that both Lord Crewe and M. 
Delcasse had disavowed any intention to bring the least 
pressure to bear upon Greece, who had thus the right to 
count on her independence being respected. The Entente 
Powers, he went on, thought they could promise Bulgaria 
an agreement in which their own will took the place of 
Greece's consent, with the idea of exacting her acceptance 
afterwards. But they were greatly mistaken. The Hel- 
lenic Government, voicing the unanimous sentiments of 
the people as well as its o\\'n judgment, repelled with 
indignation the idea of making the national heritage an 
object of a bargain ; and while thanking the Entente 
Powers for the courtesy which inspired their notification, 
it protested in the most energetic and solemn manner 
against the injury which they proposed to inflict upon the 
independence and integrity of Greece in defiance of inter- 
national law. 

In reply, the British Government quietly informed the 
Hellenic Government that the Entente Powers still hoped 
that Greece would come into line with their policy, and 
that, as soon as Bulgaria had accepted their offer, they 
would submit a concrete proposal dealing in detail with 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 43 

the surrender of Cavalla and defining precisely the Asiatic 
concessions which Greece would receive in exchange.^ 

This brings the relations of the Entente Powers with 
M. Gounaris's Government to an end. It is a strange 
record. We have, to begin with, the curious reception 
of his first offer — the whole Greek Army, the intervention 
of which might have turned the Gallipoli tragedy into a 
victory. Doubtless, there were reasons for declining 
so considerable a reinforcement. We know that, although 
Russia had modified her objection to Greek participation, 
she still regarded the presence of a large Greek force in 
European Turkey with disfavour ; that the dismember- 
ment of the Ottoman Empire was not agreeable to France ; 
that the AlUes could not at that time afford the miUtary 
contingents stipulated by the Greek General Staff. There 
will be no disposition to underrate the complexities of the 
situation, or want of sympathy for those upon whom fell 
the task of finding a solution satisfactory to all the Powers 
concerned. But, though these complexities might be good 
reasons for not accepting the Gounaris offer, they were 
hardly reasons for not acknowledging it, even in the 
interest of ordinary courtesy. 

Then came the sterile pourparlers through Paris. Here, 
again, political difficulties explain without justifying the 
attitude of the Entente Powers. Their refusal of the 
guarantee demanded by Greece as an essential condition 
of her entry into the war was, of course, a natural result 
of their Bulgarian policy — a policy for which very little 
could be said. Time perhaps was, at the beginning of 
the War, when Bulgaria might have been won ; for it is 
not necessary to adopt the Graeco-Servian view that she 
had from the first decided to join the enemies of the Entente 
and that no amount of reasonable concessions would have 
satisfied her ambition ; the Bulgars are a practical people, 
and there was at Sofia a pro-Entente party which might 
have prevailed, if the Entente Powers had, without delay, 
defined the proposed concessions and proceeded to press 
Greece and Servia to make them — to expect from either 

^ Communication of Entente Powers to Greek Premier, 21 July/ 
3 Aug.; Greek Premier's reply (No. 81 18); Alexandropoulos, 
Nish, 23 July/5 Aug. ; 25 July/7 Aug. ; Communication by 
British Minister at Athens, 23 July/5 Aug., 1915. 



44 GREFXE AND THE ALLIES 

State a voluntary self-mutilation was to expect a miracle. 
By not doing so, by shilly-shallying at Athens, Nish, and 
Sofia, they only lost the confidence of Greeks and Serbs 
without gaining the confidence of the Bulgars, who could 
hardly take seriously proposals so vague in their formula- 
tion and so imcertain of their fulfilment. If, on the other 
hand, the Alhes were unable to define the concessions or 
afraid to shock public opinion by forcing them upon 
Greece and Servia, then they ought to have dropped their 
hopeless scheme, without wasting valuable time, and 
worked on the lines of Graeco-Servian co-operation against 
Bulgaria. Instead, they squashed, as we saw, every 
attempt which the Greek General Staff made to that end. 

But it is not the only aberration with which history will 
charge our statesmen and diplomats. 

Greece was going through an internal crisis ; and tho.se 
who know Greece will know what that means. In private 
life no people is more temperate, more moderate, than the 
Greek : a sense of measure always seasons its pleasures, 
and even the warmest passions of the heart seem to obey 
the cool reflections of the brain. In pubUc Hfe, by way of 
compensation, the opposite quahtics prevail ; and as 
citizens the Greeks display an astonishing lack of the very 
virtues which distinguish them as men. The spirit of 
party bums so hot in them that it needs but a breath to 
kindle a conflagration. That spirit, whose excesses had, 
several times in the past, brought the fundamental prin- 
ciples of the Constitution into question, and the country 
itself to the brink of ruin, was once again at work. Former 
friends had become deadly enemies : the community was 
rent with dissensions and poisoned with suspicions. Pre- 
posterous falsehoods were freely scattered and readily 
snatched at on both sides : the side of M. Venizelos and the 
side of M. Gounaris. Pohticians who had been echpsed 
by the Cretan's brilhance, came forth now to regain their 
lustre at his expense. For hke all men who have played 
leading parts on the world's stage, M. Venizelos had 
gathered about him as much animosity as admiration ; 
and hate is more enterprising than love. 

M. Venizelos and his partisans were at least as resource- 
ful as their opponents. The Cretan had never been able 
to bear contradiction. If his greatness had created him 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 45 

many enemies, his pettiness had created him more. His 
tone of prophetic and impeccable omniscience was vexa- 
tious at all times, but particularly galling at this agitated 
period. It was now his constant cry that the situation 
called for the work of a statesman and not of an inter- 
national lawyer or strategist. There were times when he 
declaimed this thesis in so violent a fashion that no self- 
respecting man could work with him. He had lost all the 
able collaborators of the great Reconstruction era, and 
nothing could make him forgive these " apostates." 
Everybody who could not see eye to eye with him was to 
M. Venizelos a traitor. It was impossible for M. Venizelos 
to admit that others besides himself might be actuated 
by patriotic as well as by personal motives ; that he did 
not possess an exclusive patent of sincerity any more than 
of vanity. He found it easier to believe that the alpha 
and the omega of their policy was to undo him. He would 
undo them — even at the cost of the cause he had at heart : 
to see Greece openly on the side of the Entente. It is not 
that he thought less of the cause, but he thought more of 
himself. His egoism was of that heroic stature which 
shrinks from nothing. His nature impelled him to this 
labour ; his privileged position as the particular friend of 
the Entente suppUed him with the means. 

M. Venizelos had taken a long stride towards that end 
when he insinuated that King Constantine's disagreement 
with him was due to German influence. Henceforth this 
calumny became the cardinal article of his creed, and 
the " Court Clique " a society for the promotion of the 
Kaiser's interests abroad and the adoption of the Kaiser's 
methods of government at home. M. Streit, though no 
longer a member of the Cabinet, was represented as its 
mainspring : a secret counsellor who wielded the power, 
while he avoided the title, of Minister ; M. Gounaris, though 
in name a Prime Minister, was in reality a mere instrument 
of the sovereign's personal policy — so were the members 
of the General Staff — so was, in fact, everyone who held 
opinions at variance with his own : they all were creatures 
of the Crown who tried to hide their pro-Germanism under 
the mask of anti-Venizelism. Their objections to his 
short-sighted and wrong-headed Asiatic aspirations — 
objections the soundness of which has been amply 



40 GEEECE AND THE ALLIES 

demonstrated by experience — were dictated by regard for 
Germany, the patron of Turkey. Their offers to fight 
for the dissolution of Germany's protege were not genuine : 
the conditions which accompanied them were only designed 
to make them unacceptable. The Entente should beware 
of their bad faith and learn that M. Venizelos was the only 
Greek statesman that could be trusted.^ 

The Powers who had long since adopted M. Venizelos 
foimd it convenient to adopt all his theories. M. Delcasse, 
when called upon to explain why the Greek offer met with 
such scant ceremony, did so by saying that it came from 
M. Gounaris, who was the instrument of the personal 
policy of the sovereign, and who combated among the 
electors M. Venizelos, the champion of rapprochement 
with the Entente ; that the proposal for the dispatch 
of large contingents to the East, involving as it did a 
depletion of the Western Front, was calculated to please 
the imperial brother-in-law of King Constantine ; that the 
territorial guarantee demanded by Greece would have 
become known to Bulgaria, thrown her into the arms of 
Germany, and precipitated her against Servia, whom King 
Constantine intended to leave to her fate ; the trick was too 
gross to deceive the Allies, and they gave it the reception 
it deserved. Likewise in squashing the Greek efforts to 
concert with Servia measures for mutual safety against 
Bulgaria, while there was yet time, the Alhes, said M. 
Delcasse, acted on the advice of M. Venizelos, who told 
them that the Gra2co-Ser\dan Treaty was purely defensive : 
that it did not provide for action unless Bulgaria attacked ; 
and what a misfortune if Servia, by such measures, should 
appear to take an initiative which would give Bulgaria an 
excuse for the aggression she meditated. Therefore, they 
bade Servia devote her whole attention to the security 
of her Austrian frontier and not play Bulgaria's game by 
furnishing her with a pretext for attack. ^ 

1 See the Nea Hellas, 20, 21 March (O.S.), 1915 ; Orations, passim. 

2 Journal Official, p. 76. To appreciate the community of senti- 
ments between M. Venizelos and M. Delcasse fully, one must com- 
pare the above statement with that in Orations, pp. 68-9. The 
differences are equally instructive. The Venizelist orator, prudently 
suppresses from a Greek audience the fact that his Chief frustrated 
the General Staff's efforts to co-operate with Servia ; he boldly 
surmises, on the other hand, that behind the General StsifiE's stipula- 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 47 

On this side of the Channel the inventions of M. Veni- 
zelos, it would seem, were accepted as discoveries with 
equal solemnity. During the Paris pourparlers, according 
to the French Ambassador in London at all events, England 
was much annoyed by the Greek Government's hesitations, 
which she attributed to King Constantine's opposition, and 
asked herself whether she could either then or in the future 
treat with a country governed autocratically. She was 
persuaded that Greece lay under the influence of Germany, 
and asked herself whether she could in future support a 
country which let itself be guided by Powers whose interests 
were absolutely contrary to her own.^ 

The Entente Ministers at Athens, as was natural, had 
greater opportunities of displaying their soUdarity with 
M. Venizelos. They would perhaps have been better 
advised had they followed the example of their colleagues 
at Rome. It can hardly be questioned that the discreet 
and decorous aloofness of the Entente diplomats from the 
long-protracted struggle between the Italian advocates 
of war and neutrahty, assisted by Prince von Billow's 
indiscreet and indecorous participation in that struggle, 
faciUtated a decision in our favour : nothing does so much 
to alienate a high-spirited nation as an attempt on the 
part of outsiders to direct its internal affairs. In Greece 
the need for discretion was even more imperative. All 
controversy at such a juncture was injudicious. But if 
preference had to be shown, it would have been better to 
have taken the King's side, for all that was valuable to us 
from the military point of view rallied round him ; and, 
in any case, since the hopes of the VenizeUsts for oversea 
expansion depended on the goodwill of the Sea Powers, 

tions as to the sphere of Greek miUtary action lurked the arriere 
pensee to confront the AlUes with the risk of provoking Bulgaria, 
whom they still regarded as a potential friend : so the stipulations 
were, as they were intended to be, unacceptable. Again, while 
M. Delcasse, addressing a French audience nervous about the 
Western Front, reckoned that the Entente contingents demanded 
by the Greek General Staff would amount to at least 600,000 or 
800,000 men, M. Politis, less fantastically, estimates them at 450,000 
men : this force, which Greece deemed necessary for success, it 
will be seen, was not far removed from that which France and 
England eventually wasted in failure. 

1 Prince George to King Constantine, Paris, 28 April/ii May, 



18 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

they were tied to us securely enough : so if the land school 
represented by the General Staff could have been satisfied, 
the country would have remained united and on our side. 
Instead of adopting this sane attitude, the local agents of 
the Entente ostentatiously associated themselves with the 
Venizehsts and boycotted the others, thus gratuitously 
contributing to a cleavage from which only our enemies 
could profit. 

And that was not all. Having begun by endeavouring 
to influence the Greeks, they ended by being entirely 
influenced by them. Forgetting that no correct percep- 
tion of facts or estimate of motives is possible without a 
certain mental detachment, they allowed themselves to be 
swallowed up, as it were, in the atmosphere of suspicion 
and slander genei'ated by party friction : they ceased to 
have any eyes, ears, or minds of their owm ; they saw and 
heard just what I\I. Venizelos willed them to see and hear, 
and thought just as M. Venizelos willed them to think. 
If the King refused to enter the War, his refusal was 
inspired by the desire to serve the Kaiser ; if he offered to 
do so, his offers were prompted by the desire to dish M. 
Venizelos.^ 

Hence, every proposal made to the Entente by ]\I. 
Venizelos 's successors was rejected. Greece was kept 
out of the AUies' camp, and Servia was sacrificed. For 
it should be clearly understood that the fate of Servia was 
decided in the months of June and July, 1915, not only 
by the development of the Germano-Bulgarian plan, but 
also by the failure of all co-operative counter-measures 
on the part of the Serbs, Greeks, and Entente Powers while 
time was still available. If only there had been anyone 
of sufficient authority and independence of view to cor- 
relate and compose the clashing interests of the moment, a 
gallant ally might have been saved from destruction. But 
those best quahfied to judge of what was coming, and in a 
position to frame the corresponding poficy, had been driven 
into reserve by the storm of calumny, whereby their 
motives were misconstrued, their counsels derided, and 
their authority undermined ; so that in the general uproar 
their voices were scarcely heard. And there were none — 

1 See M. Poincare's statement to the Matin, reproduced in the 
Balkan Review, Dec, 1920, p. 386 ; Deville, pp. 161, 168-9. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 49 

or very few — to act as intermediaries ; for the personnel 
of the Entente Legations, " wholly beUeving a lie," had 
withdrawn in a body from all intercovirse with them, had 
nicknamed them " Bodies," and were accustomed to 
assess as concocted in Berhn every notion that emanated 
from them. Even the few members of those Legations 
who had the moral courage to walk the streets without 
blinkers were subjected to every form of odious insinuation 
and attack. Venizelos in office, out of ofhce, on matters 
technical or lay, to him and to him only would anyone 
listen, and as he knew rather less about the rudiments of 
the mihtary art than most people, and refrained from 
consulting those that did, the results were not difficult to 
predict. 

Yet, as late as June, the elements of a good plan were 
ready to hand in abundance. The General Staff was, as 
stated, continuing its efforts for co-operation with the 
Serbs. The King, though too ill to conduct business, would 
have assented to any military proposal put forward by 
the General Staff. The people would have followed the 
King as one man. And the enemy were not ready. All 
that was necessary was to study with attention and sym- 
pathy the advice of the experts : to call the soldiers of the 
countries concerned to council, and to inaugurate a joint 
campaign. It was not done — and it is difficult to say now 
to whom the failure proved most disastrous — to Servia, 
to Greece, or to the Entente Powers. But for this failure 
a proportionate share of blame must be laid upon those 
who, instead of striving to heal divisions in Greece, did 
everything they could to foment them. 



CHAPTER V 

ON 23 August, M. Venizelos returned to power as a 
result of the General Elections held on June 13. 
The outcome of those elections proved how great his 
popularity still was. True, in igio he had obtained 
146 seats out of 182, and now only 185 out of 314. But 
the majority, though diminished, remained substantial 
enough to show that he still was, for most people, the man 
who had cleansed Greece. Nor did M. Venizelos imperil 
his popularity by reveaUng his differences with the King. 
On the contrary, in his own country, his attacks were 
carefully confined to the statesmen and soldiers opposed 
to him : the King, M. Venizelos proclaimed, far from 
sharing their narrow, unpatriotic, pro-German views, 
" did not exclude exit from neutrality under given con- 
ditions, but accepted it in principle as imposed for the 
serving of the national rights." ^ By his organs, too, the 
King was described as " a worthy successor of the Con- 
stantines who created the mighty Byzantine Empire — 
imbued with a sense of his great national mission — Greek 
in heart and mind." ^ So anxious, indeed, was M. Venizelos 
not to lose votes by any display of ill-feeling against the 
popular sovereign that he even took some pains to have 
himself photographed calling at the Palace to inquire after 
the King's health. 

As to policy, it is difficult to determine the part which it 
played in the contest. M. Venizelos refrained from pub- 
lishing any sort of programme. His opponents asserted 
that a vote for Venizelos meant a vote for war. But his 
most prominent supporters declared that such was by no 
means the case : although, at a certain moment, he was 
ready to participate in the Gallipoli enterprise, circum- 
stances had changed, and his future course would depend 
on the situation which he would find on returning to 

1 M. Venizelos in the Nea Hellas, 22 March (O.S.), 1915. 

2 Ibid. 

50 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 51 

power. This vagueness, though not very helpful to the 
voters, doubtless helped the voting ; for there was hardly 
any pro-war feeling among the masses. The noble ideals 
emblazoned upon the Entente banners produced little 
impression on their minds. The experience of two thou- 
sand years has taught the Greeks that Governments never 
fight for noble ideals, and, if they relieve a small nation 
from a foreign yoke, it is, as often as not, in order to impose 
a new one. To them the War was a struggle for power and 
plunder between two European groups. It was matter of 
common knowledge that Constantinople had been allotted 
to the Russians, and the Greeks were not particularly keen 
on shedding their blood in order to place a Tsar on the 
Byzantine throne. Nor did the Smyrna bait attract them 
greatly, since it involved parting with Cavalla. At the 
same time, the lurid accounts of German frightfulness 
disseminated by the Entente propaganda, instead of 
inflaming, damped still further their enthusiasm.^ The 
Venizelist candidates were, therefore, wise in repudiating 
the allegation that their victory would inevitably mean 
intervention in the conflict ; and, on the whole, the people 
who voted for the Cretan statesman seem to have paid a 
tribute to his personality rather than to his policy. 

Meanwhile, Servia, under pressure from the Entente, 
had decided to promise Bulgaria territorial concessions, 
and the communication of this decision to the Hellenic 
Government formed the occasion of M. Venizelos's first 
official act. Greece, he wrote in reply, not wishing to 
embarrass her friend and ally at a moment when imperative 
necessity forced the latter to submit to painful sacrifices, 
abandoned her objections. But she would be lacking in 
sincerity if she failed to tell Servia straightway that 
" the raison d'etre of the Alliance — namely, the territorial 
equiUbrium and the mutual guarantee of their respective 
possessions — being profoundly affected by the contem- 
plated changes, the reciprocal obUgations of the AlHance 
could not survive except by virtue of a renewal." M. 
Passitch repHed verbally that he thought like M. Venizelos. 
But, as it happened, the question did not arise ; Servia's 
promise was coupled with so many stipulations and 
reservations, that, in the opinion of the Entente Powers, 
^ Deville, p. 174. 



52 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

it amounted almost to a refusal ;i and the thread of the 
negotiations was very soon broken by events. Destiny 
moved too fast for diplomacy. 

Hardly had these dispatches been exchanged, when 
Colonel Vlachopoulos, the emissary of the Greek General 
Staff to Servia, arrived in Athens, bringing a report of the 
gravest nature. After twelve months' evasions, the 
Servian Minister of War had at last mentioned to him the 
need for an understanding between the two Staffs, and the 
Servian Director of i\Iihtary Operations stated that Servia, 
far from being able to contribute to a common struggle 
against Bulgaria the 150,000 combatants stipulated by 
the Grasco-Servian Convention, could not at the moment 
transport to the northern parts of the Bulgarian frontier 
more than one or two divisions, while as to the southern 
parts, which most immediately concerned Greece, they 
would have to be left with the eight regiments of 1915 
conscripts — that is, raw recruits. Simultaneously, the 
fear which the Greek miUtary authorities had expressed 
to their Servian colleagues in the pievious spring — that 
delay might prove fatal — was being realized ; from all 
sides came intelligence of the concentration of large 
Austro-German forces towards the Danube. 

In the circumstances, after studying Colonel Vlacho- 
poulos's report, the Greek General Staff submitted to the 
Government (14 September) the opinion that for Greece 
to embark on a war against Bulgaria, so long as she was 
not assured of the co-operation of adequate Servian 
forces, was tantamount to courting annihilation ; and of 
such co-operation there was no prospect : the moment the 
Serbs found themselves faced by a superior Austro-German 
army, the Greeks would have to fight the Bulgars as well 
as, in all probability, the Turks alone. 

As if in confirmation of this forecast, a week later 
(21 September), the Hellenic Government received from 
Sofia the official announcement of the conclusion of a 
Turco-Bulgarian agreement and of Bulgarian mobiliza- 
tion ; the latter measure being, according to the Bulgarian 
Premier, purely precautionary : as the Austro-German 

1 Venizelos to Greek Legation, Nish, 18/31 Aug. ; Alexandro- 
poulos, Nish, 19 Aug./i Sept. ; 20 Aug./2 Sept. ; 22 Aug./ 
4 Sept., 1915. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 53 

armies had just begun an attack on Servia, and the theatre 
of war approached the Bulgarian frontiers, his country 
was obUged to take up an attitude of armed neutraUty.^ 

The news threw M. Venizelos into a fever of excitement. 
He had, meanwhile, become most soHcitous about Gr?eco- 
Servian co-operation, and had not permitted his mind to 
be impressed by Colonel Vlachopoulos's report. When 
Austria and Germany had their hands full elsewhere, 
Servia's peril had left him cold ; it set him on fire now 
when they were ready to hurl their legions into the Balkan 
Peninsula— when it was no longer for Greece a question 
of fighting Bulgaria only, but Bulgaria and Turkey and the 
Central Empires. M. Venizelos was a statesman of broad 
ideas, a hater of dry facts, and an impenitent believer in 
his own star. For the matter of time he cared very little ; 
considerations of odds did not weigh with him unduly ; 
and he cherished a sovereign contempt for the cautious 
attitude of professional soldiers and other uninspired 
persons. Never did these qualities appear more \avidly 
than on this 21st of September. 

At 5 p.m. M. Venizelos went to Tatoi, the King's country 
residence, to confer with him, having previously arranged 
that a mobilization Order should be drawn up and presented 
to his Majesty for signature at 6.30 p.m., by which time he 
expected to have finished his conversation. The following 
is a s^mopsis of that memorable interview based on a 
report from M. Venizelos's own lips.^ 

The King readil}' agreed to mobilize, but firmly resisted 
the proposal to enter the war, on the ground that the odds 
were too heavy. M. Venizelos argued that, even if 
Germany had five million men available on other fronts, 
she could not biing them to the Balkans, and consequently 
there was no cause for fear : he spoke learnedly and at 
enormous length of geographical conditions and means of 
transport, of victualling, of guns and bayonets, of morale — 
he had allowed himself an hour and a half. How the 
King must have felt under this harangue, any expert who 
has had to listen to an amateur laying down the lav/ to 
him on his own subject may imagine. On finding his 
military arguments fruitless, M. Venizelos shifted his 
ground ; though, the military habit being too strong, he 
' White Book, l^io. /^i. ^Orations, pp. 131-8. 



54 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

coiilJ not get away from miliiary phraseology : " I was then 
obliged," he tells us, " to bring forward my heav}' artillery." 

" Majesty," I said, " I have not succeeded in persuading 
you. I am very sorry ; but it is my duty, as representing 
at this moment the Sovereignty of the People, to tell you 
that you have no right to disagree with me this time. 
The people by the last elections has approved my policy 
and given me its confidence. It knew that the basis of 
my policy was not to let Bulgaria, by crushing Servia, 
become too big and crush us to-morrow. You cannot 
therefore at this moment depart from this policy — unless 
you decide to set aside the Constitution ; in which case 
you must say so clearly, abrogating the Constitution by a 
Decree and assuming the responsibility." 

The King replied : " You know I recognize that I am 
bound to obey the popular verdict when it is a question 
of the internal affairs of the country ; but when it is a 
question of foreign affairs— the great national questions — 
my view is that, so long as I consider a thing right or wrong, 
I must insist that it shall or shall not be done, because I 
feel responsible before God." 

At this utterance, M. Venizelos narrates, " I remember 
that a feeling of distress came over me, and with clasped 
hands, I shook my head in a melancholj' manner, saving : 
' Alas ! we are before the theory of kingship by the grace 
of God : poor Greece ! ' "^ After a httle, he told the King 
that, in the actual circumstances, he could not undertake 
a struggle for the Constitution ; he could only tender his 
resignation. 

The King expostulated : " How can you resign in the 
face of a Bulgarian mobihzation ? In these circumstances, 
cis you know, we must not delay even twentj^-four hours. 
After all, who assures us that Bulgaria will attack Servia ? 
It is possible that she may maintain an armed neutrality' ; 
in which case our disagreement vanishes, and you can 
stay in power and carry on your policy." Wliereupon 
]\I. Venizelos withdrew his resignation. 

Of course, he was not deluded by the Sofia Government's 

^ This utterance, for the exactness of wliicli we have to rely 
entirely on M. \''enizelos's memory, was the origin of the charge 
henceforth brought against King Constantine that he claimed to 
reign by Divine Right. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 55 

announcement of " armed neutrality," and he was deter- 
mined to go for Bulgaria at once. But how ? In his own 
mind, as he had already demonstrated to the King, no 
doubt existed that, if the Greeks attacked the Bulgars, 
they had every chance of crushing them and even of taking 
their capital. But there was that General Staff by whose 
opinions the King set such store. They objected Servia's 
inabihty to contribute, as she was bound by her Military 
Convention to do, 150,000 combatants. Therefore, in 
order to meet this objection, he said : " Don't you think 
we might ask the English and the French whether they 
could not furnish 150,000 combatants of their own ? " 

" Certainly," replied the King ; " but they must send 
Metropolitan (European) troops, not Colonials." 

By his own account, M. Venizelos did not take this as 
meaning that the King had agreed, if the English and the 
French supplied these reinforcements, to depart from 
neutraUty. He left Tatoi with a clear perception of the 
divergence between their respective points of view : while 
they both concurred in the need of instant mobilization, 
one was for a defensive and the other for an offensive 
policy ; but, as soon appeared, not without hopes of 
converting his sovereign by some means or other. 

A busy, ambitious child of fortune never lets the grass 
grow under his feet : 

" I returned to the Ministry at 7 p.m.," goes on the 
curious record, " and telephoned to the Entente Ministers 
to come and see me quickly, \^^hen they came, I informed 
them that a mobilization Order was being signed at that 
very moment and would be published that evening ; but 
for our further course I needed to know if the Powers 
were disposed to make good the 150,000 combatants whom 
Servia was obliged by our Treaty to contribute for joint 
action against Bulgaria. They promised to telegraph, 
and immediately dispatched an extra urgent telegram, 
adding that they would let me know the answer. This 
happened at about 8 p.m., and at 8.15 there arrived M. 
]\Iercati (the Marshal of the Court) with a message from the 
King, asldng me not to make this demarche to the Entente. 
I rephed that the demarche had already been made."^ 

^ According to another and ampler version of these events, it 
had been agreed between the King and M. Venizelos that, while 



56 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Forty-eight hours later arrived the Entente Powers' 
answer, that they would send to Salonica the 150,000 men 
asked for. M. Venizelos, on comnumicating this answer 
to the King, was requested by him to tell the Entente 
IMinisters that, so long as Bulgaria did not attack Servia, 
and consequently the question of Greece going to Servia's 
assistance did not arise, no troops should be sent, as their 
landing on Greek soil would constitute a violation of Greek 
neutrality. M. Venizelos tells us that he communicated 
the King's wish to the Entente Ministers, who telegraphed 
it to their Governments. 

King Constantine, it would seem, was left under the 
impression that the affair had ended ; and the general 
behef was that the pohcy of neutrality still held good ; 
when suddenly the report came that Allied troops were 
on their way to Salonica and that Greece was expected to 
assist in their landing. 

The news would ha\T astoni.shcd the Greeks in any 
circumstances ; but the circumstances in which it reached 
them were of a nature to heighten astonishment into alarm. 
Just then (28 September) Sir Edward Grey stated in the 
House of Commons, amid loud applause, " Not only is 
there no hostility in this countrj^ to Bulgaria, but there 
is traditionally a warm feeling of sympathy ; " and he 
reiterated the Balkan policy of the Entente— a Balkan 

the latter opened conversations with the British and French 
Ministers about the possibiUty of sending 150,000 combatants, the 
former should simultaneously open conversations with the German 
Emperor relating the steps taken in regard to the Entente, and 
asking what Germany would give for Greek neutrality. But when 
M. Venizelos returned to Athens, he sent a letter to the King in- 
forming him that he had changed his mind and that, as a responsible 
Minister, he could not sanction the projected negotiations with 
Germany. Whereupon the King forwarded by M. Mercati a reply 
that, in such a case, he retracted the permission to approach the 
Entente with regard to reinforcements. See the Balkan Review, 
Dec, 1920, pp. 387-8. Yet another version supplies some ad- 
ditional details : M. Venizelos assured M. Mercati that his d-marche 
was of a strictly personal character and did not commit the State 
in the least ; next day he repeated this assurance to the King 
himself and, at the King's instance, promised to cancel the d-marche ; 
and two days afterwards the French Minister, M. Guillemin, formally 
declared to the King that M. Venizelos's d-marche was considered 
as null and void — nulle et von avenue. — See S. Cosmin's Diplomatic 
et Pyesse dans V Affaire Grecqiie (Paris, 192 1), pp. 123-4. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 57 

agreement on the basis of territorial concessions. The 
inference which the Greeks drew from this coincidence was 
that the Entente Powers were sending troops to despoil 
them on behalf of the Bulgars — that they intended to bid 
for Bulgaria's friendship at the twelfth hour by forcibly 
seizing the parts of Macedonia which they had endeavoured 
in vain to persuade Greece to yield. ^ 

M. Venizelos himself carried the report to the King, 
inveighing, it is said, intemperately against the AlUes : 

" I will protest with the greatest energy," he cried, 
trembling with anger. " I will protest against this un- 
qualifiable violation of our soil." 

" Certainly," repUed the King, " you must protest very 
energetically."^ 

^ The Greek Ministers abroad had for some time been informing 
their Government of a contemplated occupation by Allied troops 
of the territories which were to be ceded to Bulgaria ; and the 
suspicion that a dispatch of Entente Forces to Salonica might have 
for its object " really to occupy for Bulgaria, until the conclusion 
of peace, the territories coveted by her," has been expressed even 
by a French diplomat. — See Deville, p. 129, n. i. 

^ I venture to borrow this little scene from S. Cosmin, p. 125. 
M. Venizelos at this stage of the proceedings is more eloquent than 
coherent. He tells us (Orations, p. 139), that on informing the King 
that the Allied troops were on their way to Salonica, his Majesty 
said : " That's all right. Only please let your protest be in any case, 
emphatic," and that he replied : " Emphatic — yes, but only up 
to a certain point, considering what lies beneath." Now, as on M. 
Venizelos's own showing, the King was no party to the Allies' step, 
it is not very easy to see how he could have spoken to him as if the 
King had a secret understanding with them. The episode is one 
on which more light could be shed with advantage. The same may 
be said of an allegation that King Constantine secretly informed 
Bulgaria that, even in the event of an attack on Servia, she would 
meet with no opposition from Greece. This allegation is supported 
chiefly by a telegraphic dispatch from the Bulgarian Minister at 
Athens to Sofia (White Book, No. 43), which somehow (it is not 
stated how) fell into the hands of M. Venizelos's friends and was 
produced by them in the Skouloudis Inquiry. The authenticity 
of this document was publicly denied by its alleged author, and its 
portentous length (three large pages of close print), as well as its 
unusual style render it very suspicious : it begins : " To-day, 9th 
instant," and it is dated "23 " — as if the author did not know that 
the difference between the Old and New Calendar was 13 days. 
In face of these difficulties, strong evidence would be required to 
establish its genuineness : the more because that Inquiry witnessed 
a number of similar curiosities — among them an alleged dispatch 
from the Turkish Minister at Athens to the Grand Vizier, regarding 



58 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

And M. Venizelos hurried off to his office and drew up 
the following telegram, which, now printed for the first 
time, reveals many things : 

" A grave misunderstanding threatens to develop 
between Greece and the Entente Powers on the subject 
of the despatch of international troops through Salonica 
to Servia. When I suggested the dispatch of 150,000 men 
destined to complete the Servian contingents in case of a 
common struggle against Bulgaria, I did not ask this 
succour for Greece, but for Servia in order to remove the 
objection raised against our Alliance, said to have become 
nuJl by Servia's inability to fulfil her engagement. By 
accepting in principle to proceed to such dispatch the 
Powers rendered above all a service to Servia and to their 
own cause in the East. Likewise, I had clearly specified 
that, so long as Greece was neutral, the landing of inter- 
national troops at Salonica could not have our official 
adhesion. Our neutrality imposed upon us to protest for 
form's sake ; after which matters would go on as at 
^loudros.^ 

the conclusion of a secret Graeco-Turkish treaty. When challenged, 
M. Skouloudis declared that such treaty never was even thought 
of and denounced the dispatch as " from beginning to end a forgery," 
whereupon nothing more was said. (See Skouloudis's Apologia, pp. 
85-8). These matters are of interest as illustrating the atmosphere 
of mistrust that poisoned Greek politics at this period, and par- 
ticularly the relations between the King of Greece and her leading 
politician. 

1 In pursuance of a decision taken by the War Council on 16 
Feb., a British force was sent to Lemnos to support the naval 
attack on the Dardanelles, landing at Moudros on 6 March. Greece 
told the British Government that she considered the action irrecon- 
cilable with her position as a neutral. The British Government 
justified it by saying that, as Turkey had not accepted the verdict 
of the Powers whereby Lemnos and the other islands conquered 
in 1912 were assigned to Greece, England had the right to treat 
them as Turldsh territory : at the same time declaring that this 
did not entail any diminution of Greek sovereignty. Thus, whilst 
Turkey was a friend, the British Government had decided that 
these islands did not belong to her ; it recognized her claim to them 
when she became an enemy ; but not altogether — only for the 
duration of the War : it was merely a temporary expedient to meet 
a temporary exigency. By the same line of reasoning, England 
in the following July justified the occupation of Mytilene. The 
Greek answer was that " Avithout consenting to the occupation of 
part of her territory or admitting the arguments put forward by 
the British Government to justify its action from the standpoint 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 59 

" It remained for us to take all the necessary measures 
for facilitating the landing and the direct passage to Servia 
of the international troops, combining these operations 
with the needs of our own mobilization. The Minister 
of Communications was to go at once to Salonica with a 
number of engineers to arrange on the spot these technical 
matters, very complicated from the paucity of means of 
transport in Macedonia. It was understood that, before 
any dispatch of troops to Salonica, we should have twenty- 
four hours' notice. 

" Things were at this point, when the Military Governor 
of Salonica — on Wednesday — received a visit from the 
French Consul, the Commander of a French man-of-war, 
and two French officers from the Dardanelles, who told 
him that, in pursuance of a pretended understanding 
between the Premier and the French Minister, they were 
going to start reconnaissance work for the landing of 
French troops and the defence of Salonica against enemy 
submarines. Furthermore, on Thursday there arrived at 
Salonica General Hamilton Math his Staff and notified the 
Governor that the Allies were going to occupy part of the 
town and port, and put them in a state of defence with a 
view to a landing of troops. General Moschopoulos, very 
firmly though very politely, declared to them that, without 
orders from his Government, it would be his painful duty 
to oppose any seizure of national territory. 

" Such a misimderstanding inspires us with the liveliest 
alarm, for the contemplated landing has not yet been 
definitely accepted, and after being accepted it cannot 
be carried out, (i) without a prehminary protest for form's 
sake, which the British Government has informed us it 
does not want ;^ (2) without the absolute maintenance of 
the powers of our authorities, who alone would decide the 
measures for the use of the port and railways in such a 
manner as not to compromise the transport and concentra- 
tion of our own armies. 

of International Law, Greece had to bow before an accomplished 
fact." — Elliot to Greek Premier, Athens, 9 March, 25 July ; Minister 
for Foreign Affairs to Greek Legations, London and Paris, 16/29 
July, 1915. 

^ Sir Edward Grey objected to a protest because it would enable 
Germany to say that we had violated Greek neutrality. — Gennadius, 
London, 29 Sept., 1915. 



60 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

" Moreover, the great emotion caused in tlie public by 
the recent speech of Sir Edward Grey compels the Ro^'al 
Government to demand from the Entente Powers certain 
preliminary assurances. While people here expected to 
see the Powers, after the Bulgarian mobilization, proceed 
to decisive acts, and at the very least to a declaration that 
the territorial promises made to Bulgaria in August would 
be cancelled if within a very short time she did not agree 
to co-operate with the Entente, they were stupefied to see 
that to the most e\ident proof of Bulgarian dupHcity and 
disloyalty they repUed by redoubling their solicitude and 
goodwill. Sir Edward Grey's speech, followed closely 
by the visits made without notice at Salonica by the 
representatives of the French and British Staffs, gives 
birth to the fear that certain Entente Powers may harbour 
the design of using the troops which would be sent to 
Servia as the fittest instrument for giving practical effect 
to the territorial ambitions of the Bulgars in Macedonia. 
Well or ill founded, this fear exercises over people in 
Greece, and we have reason to believe in Servia also, a 
demorahzing effect and threatens to compromise the 
success of our mobilization. 

" The Royal Government finds itself confronted with a 
situation created much against its will, which imposes 
upon it the dut3^ in order to calm as soon as possible the 
alarms of the people now in arms, of asking the Powers to 
dispel the fears inspired by their attitude towards Bulgaria 
by declaring, if possible, that the offers made to her are 
henceforth null, and that the eventual dispatch of inter- 
national troops to Servia would in no case be turned to the 
detriment of the territorial integrity of Greece and Servia. 
Only formal assurances in this sense could justify in the 
eyes of Greek public opinion the Government which, 
while protesting for form's sake, would agree to facilitate 
the landing at Salonica and the passage across its territory 
of international troops destined for Servia. 

" Please speak to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in 
the sense of this telegram."* 

From the tenor of this interesting document we gather 
that, while fully aware of the King's attitude, M. Venizelos 

* Venizelos to Greek Legations, London, Paris, Petrograd, Rome, 
i8 Sept./i Oct., 1915. (Confidential.) 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 61 

went on negotiating with the AUies for immediate action ; 
and that the AlHes proceeded to act before any agreement 
had been reached. To judge by its tone, M. Venizelos 
seems to have been annoyed at the AlHes' haste as at an 
miwarrantable attempt to commit him irretrievably with- 
out heeding his conditions or waiting for his definite 
consent : so grave a breach of propriety could not but 
pain him. But, however annoyed he might be on the 
surface, at bottom he was doubtless pleased : the move 
supplied the best means for the conversion of his Sovereign 
— no argument is so persuasive as an accomplished fact. 
That was what really mattered — the manner was a detail ; 
and it is impossible to suppose that he meant to let his 
annoyance stand in the way of his high purpose.^ Themi- 
stocles, to whom the Cretan statesman bears some affinity, 
it will be remembered, forced the Greeks to fight at Salamis 
by a similar stratagem. 

This, of course, does not exculpate the Allies. Their 
conduct merits at least the appellation of irregular. But 
when foreign diplomats and native politicians become 
fused into a happy family, it would be strange, indeed, if 
irregularities did not occur. The whole of the Greek story 
is so thoroughly permeated with the spirit of old-fashioned 
melodrama that no incident, however starthng, seems 
out of place. 

What follov/s is something of an anticlimax. Next daj'-, 
the French ]\Iinister — from this point onwards France 
takes the lead and England recedes into the second place — 
had the honour to announce to his Excellency the Greek 
Premier the arrival at Salonica of a first detachment of 
troops, declaring at the same time that the Entente Powers 
sent it to assist their ally Servia, and that they counted on 
Greece, who had already given them so many proofs of 
friendship, not to oppose measures taken in the interest 
of a country to which she also was allied. ^ 

^ " For my policy the arrival of the Anglo-French was a most 
material asset. I went for war against Bulgaria and had made up 
my mind, if Bulgaria attacked Servia, to fight. It was in my 
interest, besides the 1 50,000 Greek and the 200,000 Servian bayonets, 
to have 150,000 Anglo-French, consequently it was a political 
move absolutely necessary for the prosecution of my own policy." 
— Orations, p. 140. 

2 Guillemin to Venizelos, Athens, 19 Sept./2 Oct., 1915. 



62 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

In reply, the Greek Premier had the honour to declare 
to his Excellency the French ^Minister that, being neutral, 
Greece could not authorize measures which violated her 
neutrality. The Hellenic Government was therefore 
obliged to protest against the passage of foreign troops 
through Greek territory. The circumstance that those 
troops were destined solely to the assistance of Servia, 
who was Greece's ally, nowise altered the case ; for, before 
the casus foederis was realized, the neutrality of Greece 
could not be affected by the danger which menaced Servia. * 

To return from formalities to reaUties. On the same day 
(2 Oct.), the Bulgarian forces began to mass on the Servian 
frontier, while the Austro-German battalions were fighting 
their way across the Danube ; and on the 4th Russia 
launched her ultimatum on Bulgaria. This rapid fulfil- 
ment of their own prognostications roused the Greeks to 
the highest pitch of excitement. But all faith in the 
Entente had not 3^et been extinguished. On the very day 
on which the Petrograd Government dehvered its tardy 
and ineffectual ultimatum at Sofia, at Athens the Chamber 
held a historic debate, in which M. Venizelos for the first 
time proclaimed that the Grseco-Servian Treaty imposed 
an absolute obhgation upon Greece to make war on Bulgaria 
and Turkey ; adding — in answer to a question, what he 
would do if on going to Servia's assistance he met the 
German and Austrian armies — that Germany and Austria 
must be fought as well, if necessary, and backing his 
thesis with those appeals to honour which, whether per- 
tinent or not, seldom fail to move a popular audience. 
The debate lasted till four o'clock in the morning and 
ended with a vote of confidence in M. Venizelos's mihtary 
poHcy — a policy which M. Venizelos, a civihan, expounded 
to an assembly of civilians as a settled plan, without 
waiting for the consent of the King and in defiance of 
the technical advice of the General Staff. In fairness 
to the Chamber, it should be added that the motion was 
carried on the assumption that the King was in agreement. * 

^ Venizelos to Guillemin, Athens, 19 Sept. /a Oct., 1915- This 
merely formal protest — quite distinct from the confidential dispatch 
given above — is the only one of which the world has hitherto been 
allowed to hear. 

* M. Venizelos had insisted that the reports spread through the 
Press concerning the divergence of views between him and the 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 63 

But we know King Constantine's attitude ; and if M. 
Venizelos hoped by these tactics to force his hand, he was 
speedily undeceived. No sooner was the debate over 
than the King summoned his Prime Minister and asked him 
to modify his pohcy or to resign. Faced by such a 
dilemma, M. Venizelos did the only thing he could do — he 
resigned ; and his country shrank back on to the solid 
ground of neutrality. 

It was a narrow escape — how narrow became evident 
a few hours later. The Allies had promised to send 150,000 
combatants. Even if this promise had been kept, the 
Allied force would not have been, in any strategical sense, 
an adequate substitute for the Servian contingent. For 
it was not in place for covering purposes or subsequent 
offensive action ; it was not trained to Balkan fighting ; 
it was not equipped for mountain warfare ; and, coming 
to the same ports as the Greeks, it would have delayed the 
process of concentration. But, be that as it may, the 
promise was not kept. What is more, it could not possibly 
have been kept. Politicians casting about for arguments 
wherewith to back their views may leave their hearers to 
imagine that Great Powers keep armies ready to be planked 
down at any point at a moment's notice ; but the fact is 
that an army, even if it can be spared from other tasks, 
is a cumbrous affair to move about, requiring all sorts of 
tiresome things — food, arms, ammunition — the provision 
of which requires, in its turn, complicated processes, 
before the army is potentially effective for the role assigned 
to it in the creative mind of an excited orator. Something 
of the sort had, indeed, been intimated to the Hellenic 
Government by the Entente Powers themselves when they 
wished both Greeks and Serbs to avert Bulgarian hostility 
by territorial concessions — namely, that, as after the 
commitment of troops to Gallipoli, none remained to 
rescue Servia, there was nothing for it but to conciHate 
Bulgaria. Of course, it may be asked, such being the 
facts, what value had the promise of 150,000 men ? This 

Crown should be contradicted, and, by telling the King that other- 
wise the mobilization would have no effect on Bulgaria, had obtained 
the King's permission to publish a communique in which he stated 
that " the Crown is in accord with the responsible Government not 
only as regards mobilization but also as regards future policy." 
Orations, p. 136. 



64 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

is a question which M. Venizelos would have done well to 
ponder, as King Constantine and his miUtary advisers 
pondered it. As it was, when that afternoon the Allied 
forces turned up at Salonica, the Greek people had the 
mortification to find that they amounted to 20,000. Nor 
did they approach the stipulated figure for months after. 

The arguments which had prevailed with many some 
hours before were suddenly exploded, and to the feehng 
of confidence which had prompted the Chamber's vote 
immediatel)^ succeeded a feeling of panic. What ! cried 
everybody at Athens, are we to stake our hberty — our 
national existence — on such a chance : 150,000 Greeks, 
plus 200,000 half-exhausted Serbs, plus 20,000 Alhes, 
against 200,000 Austro- Germans, plus 300,000 Bulgars, 
plus 100,000 Turks ? Nay, if the French and the English 
love gambling, we don't : we cannot afford the luxury. 
Venizelos has allowed himself to be duped, said some ; 
others, Venizelos has tried to dupe us. 

Such were the circumstances under which the AlHes 
landed at Salonica. Their action has been pronounced 
immoral and perfidious by some English and even by some 
French critics ; and as it was attended with ill success, it 
brought double shame upon the contrivers. ^ Certainly, it 
will not bear investigation from the standpoint of pohtical 
tact : it was the first of the many performances which 
little by little alienated a friendly nation from them and 
discredited M. Venizelos with his countrymen. 

1 See House of Commons Debate, in The Times, 19 April, 1916 ; 
Chambre des Deputes, secret debate of 20 June, igi6, in the Journal 
Officiel, p. 77. 



CHAPTER VI 

MZAIMIS formed a Government pledged to 
the policy which Greece had pursued since 
• the beginning of the European War : her 
future course would be guided by the course of events : 
meanwhile, she would seek to safeguard her vital interests 
by remaining armed. ^ 

As regards Servia, the new Premier had an opportunity 
of expressing his views at length soon after his accession 
to office. The Servian Government, judging that the 
imminent attack from Bulgaria reahzed the casus foederis, 
asked him if, in conformity with her alliance, Greece 
would be ready to take the field. M. Zaimis answered 
that the Hellenic Government was very sorry not to be 
able to comply with the Servian demand so formulated. 
It did not judge that in the present conjuncture the casus 
foederis came into play. The Alliance, concluded in 1913, 
for the pvirpose of establishing an equihbrium of forces 
between the Balkan States, had a purely Balkan character 
and nowise appHed to a general conflagration. Both the 
Treaty and the MiUtary Convention accompanying it 
showed that the contracting parties had in view only the 
case of an isolated attack by Bulgaria against one of them. 
Nowhere was there any allusion to a concerted attack by 
two or more Powers. Nor could it be otherwise : it would 
have been an act of mad presumption for either of the 
contracting parties to offer the other the manifestly power- 
less and ridiculous assistance of its armed forces in the case 
of a war ^vith several States at once. And such was the 
present case. If the Bulgarian attack apprehended by 
the Servian Government took place, it would be in concert 
with Germany, Austria, and Turkey : it would be combined 
with the attack already carried on by the two Central 
Empires : it would be an episode of the European War. 
1 White Book, No. 45. 
5 65 



66 GREECE AND TIIE ALLIES 

The Servian Government itself had recognized this in 
advance by breaking off diplomatic relations Nvith Bulgaria 
in imitation of the Entente Powers, her European Allies, 
wthout a pre\'ious understanding with Greece, her Balkan 
ally. In these circumstances, the Hellenic Government 
was convinced that no obhgation weighed upon it. 

Further, Greece was persuaded that her armed assistance 
freely offered at such a moment would ill serve the common 
interest of the two countries. Greece had remained 
neutral in the European War, judging that the best service 
she could render Ser\da was to hold in check Bulgaria by 
keeping her forces intact and her communications open. 
The common interest demanded that the Greek forces 
should continue in reserve for better use later on : that 
Greece should remain neutral and armed, watching the 
course of events carefully with the resolution to guard in 
the best possible wa}", not only her own \ntal interests, 
but also those which she had in common \\'ith Servia. 

The Hellenic Government, while deeply and sincerely 
regretting that it was materiallj' impossible for it to do at 
present more for Servia, wished to assure her that, faithful 
to their friendship, it would continue to accord her every 
assistance and faciht}^ consistent with its international 
position.^ 

The Entente Powers took no exception to this attitude ; 
which is not to be wondered at, seeing that the}^ had 
hitherto uniformly ignored the Graeco-Ser\ian Treaty, and, 
by their project of territorial concessions to Bulgaria, had 
laboured, as much as in them lay, to annul a pact made 
for the defence of the territorial status quo against Bulgaria : 
not until Bulgaria had been at open war with Servia for 
some daj's (14 Oct.), could they bring themselves to declare 
that the promises of Servian and Greek territory wliich 
they had made to her no longer held. Unable, therefore, 
to tell Greece that she was under any obhgation to enter 
the War on Servia's behalf, Sir Edward Grey attempted 
to induce her to do so for her own benefit by offering her 
the island of Cyprus. This offer, made on 17 October, 
Greece felt compelled to dechne : what would it have 
profited her to gain Cyprus and lose Athens ? And what 
could an acceptance have profited Ser\ia either ? As M. 
1 White Book, No. 46. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 67 

Zaimis said, by intervening at that moment Greece would 
perish without saving Servia. 

Servia could have been saved had an Anglo-French 
expedition on an adequate scale taken place at any of the 
times which the Greek General Staff proposed for Grseco- 
Servian co-operation — indeed, at any time except only 
the particular time chosen by the Entente. When their 
troops arrived at Salonica, the Servian army — what had 
been left of it after fourteen months' fighting and typhus 
— was already falling back before the Austro-Germans, 
who swarmed across the Drina, the Save, and the Danube, 
occupied Belgrade and pushed south (6-10 Oct.), while 
the Bulgars pressed towards Nish (11-12 Oct.). On the 
day on which the EngUsh offer was made (17 Oct.), the 
Austro-Germans were fifteen miles south of Belgrade, and 
by the 2nd of November there was no longer any Servia 
to save, the Bulgars having on that day entered Monastir. 

The co-operation of Greece might still have been 
obtained if the Allies could even then have sent to Salonica 
forces large enough to assure her that the struggle would 
be waged on more equal terms. ^ There had always been 
an influential group among the principal mihtary leaders 
at Athens who held that it was to the vital interest of 
their country that Bulgaria should be attacked, and who, 
to secure the help of the Entente Powers against Bulgarian 
pretensions in the future, were prepared to run gi^eat 
immediate risks. As it was, the dilatoriness of the AlHes 
imposed upon M. Zaimis a pohcy of inaction. 

This pohcy, besides being imposed by circumstances, 
also accorded with the new Premier's character. 

M. Zaimis stands out in the poUtical world of Greece as 
a singular anomaly : a politician who never made speeches 
and never gave interviews : a silent man in a country 
where every citizen is a born orator : an unambitious man 
in a country where ambition is an endemic disease. To 
find a parallel to his position, one must go back to the days 
when nations, in need of wise guidance, implored reluctant 
sages to undertake the task of guiding them. This thank- 
less task ]\I. Zaimis performed several times to everybod3^'s 
temporary satisfaction. On the present, as on other 
occasions, he enjoyed the confidence of the Entente Powers, 
^ See 2'he Times, i Nov., 191 5. 



68 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

as well as the contidence of the King and the people of 
Greece. Even the journals of M. Venizelos, and the Anglo- 
French Press which M. Venizelos inspired, paid the cus- 
tomary tribute to M. Zaimis's integrity and sagacity. 
The homage was due to the fact that ]\I. Zaimis was neither 
a Venizelist nor an anti-VenizeUst, but simply a Zaimist. 
In domestic affairs lie belonged to no party ; in foreign 
affairs to no school : he neither sought nor shunned a 
change of course. 

That explains why he succeeded in ruling Greece for 
four weeks, and also why he failed to rule her longer. 

M. Venizelos had not abandoned liis standpoint. Of 
M. Zaimis's person he spoke with much respect ; but of 
his policy' he spoke just as one might have expected M. 
Venizelos to speak : M. Zaimis had broken the Ser\nan 
Treaty and would go down to history as a man who had 
dishonoured the signature of Greece. With regard to 
the Entente Powers, M. Venizelos thought that M. Zaimis 
meant honestly — the fact that he was as well known to 
them as M. Venizelos himself, ha\-ing served as their High 
Commissioner in Crete for two years (1906-0S), exempted 
him from the imputation of duplicity — and since the 
Entente Powers tolerated him, he would do likewise. He 
only taunted the Zaimis Government in Parliament for 
not obtaining for its policy a price from those whom that 
policy unintentionally helped : Greece, to be sure, did not 
remain neutral to serve Germanj^'s but her own interests, 
nevertheless, as Germany benefited by that neutraUty, 
she should be asked to give a quid pro guo^ 

It was not the first time that M. Venizelos expressed 
this idea. At the Crown Council of 3 IMarch he had 
suggested, if his own policy of intervention was not adopted, 
to ask from Germany compensations for the continuance 
of neutraUty ; and he urged that the King should per- 
sonally bargain with the Kaiser's ^Minister. Again on 21 
September, when sounding the Entente Powers on the 

^ Orations, pp. 143-50. It would hardly be credited, did it not 
come out of his own mouth, that the compensations and guarantees 
which M. Venizelos thought, or at least said, that Greece could 
obtain from Germany in return for her neutraUty (a neutrality 
always benevolent towards Germany's enemies) exceeded those 
which the Entente had refused to grant Greece for her active 
alliance ! 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 69 

possibility of sending troops to Salonica, he advised the 
King simultaneously to sound the German Emperor on 
the price of neutraUty.^ King Constantine had always 
shrunk from entering into any understanding whatever 
with Germany. And, although the advice may have been 
given in good faith, it is easy to guess the use to which its 
acceptance might be turned by M. Venizelos, who, even as 
it was, did not hesitate to whisper of " pledges " given to 
Germany. So M. Zaimis endured the taunt and avoided 
the trap. 

This state of truce lasted for a month. Then strife 
broke out afresh. Early in November a member of the 
Government insulted the Opposition. The Opposition 
demanded his dismissal. This was refused and matters 
were pushed to a crisis — whether by the adversaries of 
M. Venizelos, anxious to get rid of a Chamber with a 
hostile majority, or by M. Venizelos himself, anxious to 
get rid of a Cabinet that had succeeded in establishing 
friendly relations with the Entente, it is impossible to say. 
Both conjectiires found favour at the time, and both seem 
probable. - In any case, M. Venizelos made of that incident 
an occasion for an attack on the Government's foreign 
pohcy, which, ending in an adverse vote, led to the resigna- 
tion of M. Zaimis and the formation of a new Ministry 
under M. Skouloudis (7 November). 

There ensued a dissolution of the Chamber (11 November) 
and a fresh appeal to the people ; the King, on the advice 
of M. Skouloudis, inviting M. Venizelos to the polls, as 
who should say : When you got your majority in June, 
the nation was with j^ou ; many things of the gravest 
national concern have happened since ; let us see if the 
nation is with you now. M. Venizelos declined the in- 
vitation : " The elections," he said, " will be a farce. 
All my supporters are detained voteless under arms, and 
the only votes cast will be those of the older and more 
timid men." How many supporters he had under arms 
the near future was to show. Meanwhile, he and his 
partizans reinforced this reason for abstention from the 
polls with other arguments. 

* Th» Balkan Revitw, Dec, 1920, pp. 384, 387 ; Orations, p. 266. 
2 It may not be irrelevant to note that the end of the truce 



70 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

King Constantine, they alleged, was guilty of uncon- 
stitutional beha\'iour. He had twice disagreed wtli a 
Government supported by a majority of the representatives 
of the people, and twice within a few months had dissolved 
a Parliament duly chosen by the people. Was such a 
thing ever heard in a constitutional State ? The Con- 
stitution had been violated : openly, insolently violated. 

In Greece this cry has always been among the Oppo- 
sition's common stock-in-trade : it is enough for a Minister 
to misapply iifty drachmas to acquire the title of a violator 
of the Constitution, and nobody ever is the wiser or the 
worse for it. M. Venizelos himself had often been accused 
by his opponents of aiming at the subversion of Parliamen- 
tary Government. But in this instance the cry was 
destined to have, as we shall see, epoch-making results, 
and for this reason it merits serious examination. 

The King's supporters denied that any \nolation of the 
Constitution had taken place. The Constitution of 
Greece, they pointed out, gives the Crown expUcitly the 
right to dismiss Ministers and to dissolve Chambers.^ 
M. Venizelos himself had, no longer ago than 5 March, at 
the second sitting of the Crown Council, declared liimself 
an adversary of the doctrine that the Parliamentary 
majority is absolute, and recognized the right of the 
Crown to choose another Government ; " On the other 
hand," he said, " the necessary consequence of the forma- 
tion of a Cabinet not enjoying a majority in the Chamber 
is the dissolution of the Chamber."^ It w^as in pursuance 

coincided with the end of the Allies' uncertainty aa to whether 
they would persist in the Salonica enterprise or give it up. 

1 Art. 31, 37. 

" Extracts from Minutes in The Balkan Review, Dec, 1920, p. 385. 
Not for the first time had M. Venizelos expounded that thesis. 
Here is a speech of his on 2/15 May, 191 1. 

" We are accused of .seeking the destruction of Parliamentary 
Government, because we conceive that one of the foundations of 
the Government is that those who represent the majority do every- 
thing, that it is enough for them that they represent the majority 
to impose their will. But we, the Liberal Party, entertain an 
entirely opposite conception both of the State and the Laws and of 
the powers of majorities, because modern progress has proved 
that humanity cannot prosper so long as the action of those in 
authority is not subjected to rules and restrictions preventing 
every transgression or violation of justice. We shall make the 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 71 

of this advice that the King, who, as M. Venizelos on that 
occasion emphatically stated, " has always absolutely 
respected the Constitution," ^ dissolved the Chamber. 

The only question, therefore, is about the dissolution 
of the Chamber elected on 13 June, 1915, which gave M. 
Venizelos a majority of 56. This action, it was alleged, 
violated the spirit, though not the letter, of Constitutional 
Law, because the dissolved Chamber represented the will 
of the people. But, the other side retorted, it was pre- 
cisely because there was ground for beheving that the 
Parliamentary majority had ceased to represent the will 
of the people that the King proceeded to a dissolution ; 
and in so doing he had excellent precedent. His father 
had dissolved several Chambers (specifically in 1902 and 
1910) on the same ground, not only without incurring any 
censure, but earning much applause from the Venizehst 
Party.* In fact, the last of those dissolutions had been 
carried out by M. Venizelos himself under the following 
circumstances : The General Elections of August, 1910, 
had given a majority to the old parties : King George, 
however, in the belief that public opinion really favoured 
M. Venizelos, called him to power, though he was only 
the leader of a Parliamentary minority. M. Venizelos 
formed a Government, but, as the majority in Parhament 
obstructed his policy, he persuaded the Sovereign to 
dissolve it,' declaring in the House (11/24 October, 1910) : 
that " it is impossible to limit the prerogative of the 
Crown to dissolve any Chamber." Obviously, what was 

Greeks truly free citizens, enjoying not only the rights which 
emanate from the Constitutional ordinances, but also those which 
emanate from all the laws. We shall defend them against every 
tyrannical exercise of Government power derived from a majority." 

This report is taken from a panegyric on the speaker : Eleiitherios 
Venizelos, by K. K. Kosmides, D.Ph., Athens, 1915, pp. 56-7. On 
p. 58 of the same work, occurs another reply by M. Venizelos to 
a charge of anti-Parliamentarism, dated 14/27 Nov., 1913. 

^ The Balkan Revieiv, loc. cit. Cp. The New Europe, 29 March, 
1917, where M. Venizelos expressly admits that " in February, 1915, 
the King's action might be regarded as constitutional." 

^ Orations, pp. 17-8. Cp. p. 217. 

^ His opponents then acted as he did now : to avoid exposing 
their weakness, they pronounced the dissolution unconstitutional 
and boycotted the new elections. For a full account of these 
events see another panegyric : E. Venizelos : his life — his work. 
By Costa Kairophyla, Athens, 1915, pp. 75-82. 



72 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

lawful for King George could not be unlawful for King 
Constantino ; and the fact that M. Venizelos's majority 
of 56 had since the recent elections dwindled to 16, was 
reason sufficient for the belief that he no longer represented 
the will of the people, even if it were conceded that the 
issue of war had been clearly put before the electors who 
had voted for him in June, and that, at best, a majority 
of 56 in an assembly of 314 was an adequate expression 
of the will of the people on so grave an issue. Events had 
moved so fast in those months and the situation changed 
so abruptly that King Constantine would have been 
guilty of a dereliction of duty had he not, by exercising 
his indisputable prerogative, given the nation an oppor- 
tunit}^ to reconsider its opinion. 

Sophisms suited to the fury of the times apart, the whole 
case of M. Venizelos against his Sovereign rested, avov.edly, 
on the theory, improvised for the nonce, that the Greek 
Constitution is a replica of the British — a monarchical 
democracy in which the monarch is nothing more than a 
passive instrument in the hands of a Government with a 
Parhamentary majority.^ It is not so, and it was never 
meant to be so. The Greek Constitution does invest the 
monarch with rights which our Constitution, or rather 
the manner in wliich we have for a long time chosen to 
interpret it, does not. Among these is the right to make, 
or to refrain from making war. That was why i\I. Veni- 
zelos in March, 1915, could not offer the co-operation of 
Greece in the Dardanelles enterprise officially without the 
King's approval, and why the British Government de- 
clined to consider his semi-official communication until 
after the King's decision. Similarly M. Venizelos's 
proposals for the dispatch of Entente troops to Salonica 
in September, so far as that transaction was carried on 
above-board, were made subject to the King's consent. 
Of course, if the King exercised this right without advice, 
he would be placing the part of an autocrat ; but King 
Constantine always acted by the advice of the competent 
authority — namely, the Chief of the General Staff. In 
truth, if anyone tried to play the part of an autocrat, it 
was not the King, but M. Venizelos. His argument 
seemed to be that the King should acquiesce in the view 
^ Orations, pp. 12-15. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 73 

which a lay Minister took of matters miHtary and in 
decisions which he arrived at without or in defiance of 
technical advice. 

In this again, M. Venizelos appears to have been inspired 
by British example. We saw during the War the responsi- 
biUty for its conduct scattered over twenty-three civil and 
semi-civil individuals who consulted the naval and military 
staffs more or less as and when they choose, and the result 
of it in the Gallipoli tragedj^ We saw, too, as a by- 
product of this system, experts holding back advice of 
immense importance because they knew it would not be 
well received. The Reports of the Dardanelles Commission 
condemned this method. But it is to a precisely similar 
method that the Greek General Staff objected with such 
determination. " Venizelos," they said, " does not know 
anything about war. He approaches the King with 
proposals containing in them the seeds of national disaster 
without consulting us, or in defiance of our advice. Greece 
cannot afford to run the risk of military annihilation ; 
her resources are small, and, once exhausted, cannot be 
replaced." The King, relying on the right unquestionably 
given to him under the terms of the Constitution, demanded 
from his chief military adviser such information as would 
enable him to judge wisely from the miUtary point of view 
any proposal involving hostilities made by his Premier. 
It was this attitude that saved Greece from the Gallipoli 
grave in March, and it was the same attitude that saved 
her a second time at the present juncture. 

But, in fact, at the present juncture the King acted not 
so much on his prerogative of deciding about war as on 
the extreme democratic principle that such decision 
belongs to the people, and, finding that the Party which 
pushed the country towards war had only a weak majority, 
he preferred to place the question before the electorate, 
to test beyond the possibility of doubt the attitude of 
public opinion towards this new departure. 

From whatever point of view we may examine Con- 
stantine's behaviour, we find that nothing could be more 
unfair than the charge of unconstitutionalism brought 
against it. M. Venizelos himself a little later, by declaring 
that he aimed at the " definite elucidation of the obhgations 
and rights of the royal authority," through a " new 



74 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Constitution,"* unwittingly confessed that the actual 
Constitution could not bear his interpretation. As things 
stood, the charge might with a better show of justice be 
brought against M. Venizelos, who, it was pointed out, 
had violated the Constitution by inviting foreign troops 
into Greek territory without the necessary Act of 
Parliament. - 

Nor should it be forgotten that King Constantine had 
suffered grievously both as a Greek and as a general from 
too punctihous an observance of parUamentary etiquette 
by his father in 1897. At that date the poHcy of M. 
Delj-annis was supported by the whole Chamber. It was 
a policy which the late Lord Sahsbury very aptl^^ summed 
up at the time in the one word, " strait-waistcoat." But, 
for lack of a man at the top strong enough and courageous 
enough to take the responsibihty of opposing it, it was 
carried out : Greece rushed headlong into war with a 
superior power and was smashed. Upon King Constantine, 
then Crown Prince, had devolved the tragic duty of leading 
the Greek army to self-destruction, and it was upon his 
devoted head that afterwards the nation visited the 
criminal levity of M. Delyannis. Was he to suffer calmly a 
repetition of the same catastrophe on an infinitely larger 
scale — to see his country trampled under German and 
Bulgarian heels — for M. Venizelos 's sake ? 

The practical wisdom and patriotism of the King's 
conduct cannot be questioned ; but we should guard 
ourselves against exaggerating its moral courage. King 
Constantine, in turning an inattentive ear to the warlike 
outpourings of the People's Chosen, knew perfectly w^ell 
that he ran no risk of wounding the people's conscience — 

^ Eleutheros Typos, 23 Oct./5 Nov., igi6 ; Orations, p. 102. 

* See Art. 99 of the Constitution. 

It was in order to defend himself against this grave charge that 
M. Venizelos denied in the Chamber and out of it, that he had 
" invited " the Allies to Salonica. Just as it was in order to avoid 
the charge of violating International Law that Sir Edward Grey in 
the House of Commons (18 April, 1916) and M. Briand in the 
Chamber of Deputies (20 June, 1916), affirmed that the Alhes haid 
been " invited." From the account of that affair already given, 
the reader will easily see that, for forensic purposes, both the denial 
and the affirmation rest on sufficient grounds. The discrepancy 
might be removed by the substitution of " instigated " for " in- 
vited." 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 75 

just as in offering to lay the question before the tribunal 
of public opinion he knew that he ran no risk of finding 
it at variance with his own. He could afford to act as he 
did, because the country trusted him impHcitly. Writing 
about the middle of November, an EngHsh observer de- 
scribed the situation as follows : " The people generally 
are afraid, waiting and leaving everything to the King. . . . 
No one now counts in Greece but the King."^ And the 
absence of any popular murmur at the rejection of the 
offer of Cyprus, to anyone who knows how deeply popular 
feeling is committed to the ultimate union of that Greek 
island with the mother country, speaks for itself. 

This does not mean that M. Venizelos had as yet lost 
caste altogether. On that fateful 5th of October his repu- 
tation as a serious statesman among his coimtrymen had 
received a severe blow. The idolatrous admiration with 
which he had been surrounded until then gave way to 
disenchantment, disenchantment to bewilderment, and 
bewilderment to dismay : the national prophet from whom 
fresh miracles had been expected, was no prophet at all, 
but a mere mortal — and an uncommonly fallible mortal 
at that. Nevertheless, while many Greeks found it hard 
to pardon the Cretan politician for the ruin into wliich 
he had so very nearly precipitated them, there were many 
others who still remained under the spell of his personality. 
Yet it may well be doubted whether, had a plebiscite been 
taken at that moment, he would have got anything more 
than a substantial minority. Fully conscious of the 
position, M. Venizelos, in spite of ad\dce from his Entente 
friends to stand his ground, boycotted the polls, and the 
new Parliament, returned by the elections of ig December, 
was a ParHament without an Opposition. M. Skou- 
loudis remained at the helm. 

^ J. M. N. Jefferies, in the Daily Mail, 23 Nov., 1915. The 
testimony is all the more notable because it comes from an avowed 
partisan of M. Venizelos : " the only man in Greece with a policy." 



CHAPTER VII 

A MOMENTOUS question — upon the answer to 
which depended, among other things, the fate of 
Greece during the War — confronted the AlHes as 
soon as they reaUzed that their Balkan campaign had 
come to an imtimely beginning. 

The dispatch of troops to Macedonia originall}^ was 
based on the agreement that M. Venizelos would get 
Greece to join. Once M. Venizelos failed to do so, the 
plan fell to the ground. Again, the object of the expedi- 
tion was to rescue Servia ; and Servia being alread\' 
conquered, the expedition had no longer any purpose. 
Such were the views of the British Government, and 
similar \aews were held in France by many, including 
M. Delcasse, who resigned when Bulgaria's " defection " 
sounded the knell of his Balkan pohcy. But other 
French statesmen, with M. Briand at their head, saw in 
Macedonia a field which promised great glory and gain, 
if only the noble British nation could be brought to under- 
stand that there were interests and sentiments at stake 
higher than agreements.^ 

The process involved some talking : " I have had my 
inter\dew with Briand and Gallieni," wrote Lord Kitchener 
to the Prime Minister. " As regards Salonica it is very 
difficult to get in a word ; they were both full of the neces- 
sity of pushing in troops, and would not think of coming 
out. They simply sweep all mihtar}' difficulties and 
dangers aside, and go on political lines — such as sa\-ing a 
remnant of Serbs, bringing Greece in, and inducing 
Rumania to join.""^ 

Other conferences followed, at all of which the French 
spoke so loudh' that the noble British nation could not 
possibly help hearing — la noble nation britanniqiie n'est pas 
restee sourde. The truth is, France was set on what M. 

1 Journal Officiel. pp. 6i, 70, 75-8. 

- Sir George Arthur's Life 0/ Lord Kitchener, Vol. Ill, p. 261. 

76 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 77 

Delcass^ now called the mirage balkanique, partly from 
considerations of a domestic nature, chiefly for reasons 
connected with the future balance of power in the Near 
East — and England could not leave her there alone. So 
the " nous r ester ons " pohcy prevailed ; and the con- 
tinued presence of Franco-British forces on Greek soil led, 
as it was bound to do, to abnormal relations with the 
Greek Government. 

The wish of the Allies was to obtain from Greece full 
licence for the safe accommodation and the operations of 
their troops ; while it was the earnest endeavour of Greece 
not to let her complaisance towards one group of bel- 
ligerents compromise her in the eyes of the other. The 
little kingdom found itself between two clashing forces : 
the one triumphant on land, the other dominating the sea. 
But of the two the German peril was the more imminent. 
The Kaiser's legions were at Monastir — any act that 
might be construed as a breach of neutraUty would bring 
them in a month to Athens. 

M. Skouloudis — a stately octogenarian who, after 
refusing three times the Premiership, had assumed power 
in this crisis at the King's insistent desire because, as he 
said, he considered it his duty so to do — took up the only 
attitude that could have been expected in the circum- 
stances : the attitude that was dictated by the instinct of 
self-preservation. 

Unlike M. Venizelos, whose mind revolved constantly 
about war at all hazards : unlike other statesmen who 
regarded war as an eventuality to be accepted or declined 
according as conditions might be favourable or unfavour- 
able, M. Skouloudis seemed resolutely to ehminate war 
from his thoughts. 

On taking ofhce he gave the Entente Powers " most 
categorical assurances of a steady determination to carry 
on the pohcy of neutrality in the form of most sincere 
benevolence towards them. The new Ministry," he added, 
" adopts M. Zaimis's repeated declarations of Greece's 
friendly attitude towards the Alhed armies at Salonica, 
and is sufficiently sensible of her true interests and of her 
debt to them not to deviate for the whole world from 
this course, and hopes that the friendly sentiments of those 
Powers towards Greece will never be influenced by false 



78 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

and malicious rumours deliberately put into circulation 
with the object of cooling the good relations between 
them." To Servia also he expressed " in the most cate- 
gorical terms sentiments of sincere friendship and a steady 
determination to continue affording her ever}'' facility and 
support consistent with our vital interests."^ 

But at the same time, when told by the Servian Minister 
that a Ser\aan arm}^ might probably, pressed bj' the enemy, 
enter Greek territory, he replied that he A\dshed and hoped 
such a thing would not happen — that Greece might not 
find herself under the very unpleasant necessity of. appl^-nng 
the Hague Rules regarding the chsarmament of a belligerent 
taking refuge in neutral territory. And he repeated this 
statement to the French Minister, adding, in answer to a 
question, What would Greece do if the Allied forces retired 
into Greek territory ? that it would be necessary to apply 
the Hague Rules, but that he hoped verj^ much the con- 
tingency would not present itself. On being reminded of 
the assurances given by his predecessor that no material 
pressure would ever be exerted on the Allied forces, he 
repHed that the Hellenic Government no\nse proposed to 
go back on those assurances, and hoped that the Powers, 
taking into consideration the irreproachable attitude of 
Greece, would be pleased to reheve her of compUcations 
and find a solution safeguarding all interests concerned.^ 

The solution he hinted at was that the Allies should 
re-embark ; in which case Greece was prepared to protect 
the parting guests " even by her own forces, so as to afford 
them the most absolute security."* 

But, as nothing was farther from their thoughts, his 
explanation did not satisfy the Allies. M. Skouloudis 
was therefore obliged to give their representatives again 
and again to understand that in no case would the Hellenic 
Government think of exerting the least pressure, and that, 
if he had alluded to the Rules regarding neutrahty, he had 
done so because such ought to be the official language of a 
State which was and wished to remain neutral. But 
from the very first he had clearly indicated that Greece 
did not mean to apply those Rules : she would confine 

^ White Book, Nos. 47, 48, 49. 

^ Skouloudis's Apantesis, pp. 43-5. 

^ White Book, No. 52. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 79 

herself to a mere reminder of international principles 
without in any way seeking to enforce respect for them. 
Greece being and wishing to remain neutral, could not 
speak officially as if she were not, nor trumpet abroad the 
assurances which she had not ceased giving the Entente 
Powers. Surely they must perceive the most delicate 
position in which Greece stood between the two belHgerent 
groups, and, given that they did not dispute, nor could 
dispute, her right to remain neutral, it was reasonable 
and just that they should accept the natural consequences 
and not demand from her impossibihties.^ 

The Entente Powers could not, of course, deny the 
reasonableness of this plea ; but neither could they 
ignore the inconveniences to themselves that would arise 
from its frank recognition. Between their base at Salonica 
and the troops which had advanced to Krivolak interposed 
several Greek army corps ; at Salonica also Greek camps 
lay among the Franco-British camps scattered round the 
town : these conditions impeded organized operations. 
General Sarrail, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allies, had 
nothing but praise for the courtesy of the Greek authorities, 
both civil and military. Yet not a day passed without 
incidents. He complained that obstacles were placed in 
his action through a multitude of secondary details : the 
Municipality claimed duties ; the Railway Service did not 
assist as liberally as could be wished in the work of getting 
off the stores which arrived at the port. It was necessary 
that the Greek troops should be moved out of the Allies' 
way and leave them in full control : privileges which no 
State could voluntarily grant and remain neutral ; which 
no army could forgo and work efficiently. So the General, 
while confessing that " we often place them in a difiicult 
position by demanding permissions which their virtual 
neutraUty cannot allow them to give," impressed on the 
Entente Governments the need of taking strong measures 
with the Greeks." 

Germany would have proceeded to deeds without wasting 
words— beyond a casual " Necessity knows no law." But 
nations fighting for noble ideals could not imitate 
Germany's cynicism. A case had to be made out to 

1 White Book, No. 51. 

^ Sarrail, pp. 311-12 ; Life of Kitchener, Vol. Ill, p. 198. 



80 GREECE AND TIIE ALLIES 

justify coercion. It w£L3. Greece did not really wish to 
remain neutral. Misled by a Germanophile Court, she 
only waited for a chance of joining the enemy — of stabbing 
the Allies in the back. When tliis amazing theory — 
widely popularized b}' the French and Enghsh Press — 
was hinted to M. RalUs by " Our Special Correspondent," 
on i8 November, the Greek Minister could hardly credit 
his collocutor's sanity : " It is mad ! " he cried out. " It 
is senseless to imagine such a thing — ^when you could have 
the guns of your fleet levelled on our cities ! " The 
answer, however — an answer the conclusiveness of which 
a glance at the map is enough to demonstrate to the 
dimmest intelhgence — fell upon deliberately deaf ears. 
The very journal which in one page recorded it, in another 
wrote : " Bulgaria has gone ; Greece is trembling in the 
balance. Only a display of overwhelming force on our 
part can hold her stead}^ and prevent the accession of 
another 500,000 men to the enemy's strength." 

That the pubhcists who argued thus and who, to give to 
their argument greater cogenc}^, generously added to the 
Greek army some 200,000 men, were persuaded by their 
own reasoning, it is hard to beheve without libelhng 
human sense. Apart from the ocular refutation supplied 
by the map, what had Greece to gain by siding with the 
enemies of the Entente ? That she would lose all her 
islands, have her coast towms pulverized and her population 
starved, was certain. What she could get in return, it 
needed a very robust imagination to suggest. The only 
countries at whose cost the Hellenic Kingdom could 
possibly compensate itself for these ine\dtable sacrifices 
were Turkey and Bulgaria ; and those countries were 
Germany's alUes. A moment's reflection raises a number 
of equally unanswerable questions : If the Greeks wanted 
to j oin Germany, why did they not do so when the Kaiser 
invited them at the very beginning of the \\'ar ? Why 
did they not resist the landing of the Alhes ? Why did 
they not attack them when they had them at their mercy : 
60,000 French and British, with the Germans and the 
Bulgars in front of them, and 150,000 Greeks between them 
and Salonica ? ^ 

^ Those were the figures on 17 Nov. — Life of Kitchener, Vol. Ill, 
p. 199. I have only seen an answer to the second of the above 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 81 

In tliis connexion the evidence of an eminent English 
soldier and an eminent French statesman who visited 
Athens at that time to study the situation on the spot 
may be cited. To each King Constantine and M. Skou- 
loudis, in the course of lengthy interviews, declared that 
the Allied forces had nothing to fear in Greece. Each 
was convinced of their sincerity, and of the true motives 
of their attitude : " They both," reported Lord Kitchener, 
" seem very determined to stick to their neutrality." 
Likewise General Dousmanis, Chief of the General Staff, 
and Colonel Metaxas, who were represented to the Entente 
pubhcs as Germanophile pedants, satisfied Lord Kitchener 
of their genuine concern about the British sphere in the 
East, and startled him by pressing upon him a plan of 
action " almost exactly the same as detailed in my tele- 
grams, and based their conclusions on the same argument 
almost word for word. They emphatically stated that 
there was no other way of preventing the accomplishment 
of the German project."^ M. Denys Cochin even went so 
far as to publish to the whole world that the suspicions 
entertained against King Constantine had no other source 
than party rancour. ^ 

For the rest, a striking proof that the Entente Powers 
themselves did not beheve the story of the Greek Govern- 
ment's hostile intentions is afforded by the fact that, 
instead of demanding, they deprecated the disbandment of 
the Greek army. When Lord Kitchener saw M. Skou- 
loudis, the latter said that the Allies' mistrust might well 
force Greece to consider whether it would not be better 
for her to demobihze, leaving to them all responsibility 
for the consequences. Lord Kitchener, in the presence 
of the British Minister, replied that, " as to some partial 
demobilization, it was for Greece to decide according 
to her interests, but he did not think a general demobiliza- 
tion advisable." And again, a little later on, when M. 

questions : it is from M. Venizelos, and it is : " absent-mindedness ": 
" Why did not the General Staff do this, since it was to Germany's 
interest that the Anglo-French should not land ? Because, im- 
mersed in politics, it no longer took account of military matters ! " 
— Orations, p. 140. 

1 Life of Kitchener, Vol. Ill, pp. 202-3. 

2 See interview with M. Denys Cochin at Messina, in the Daily 
Mail, 29 Nov., 1915. Cp. Le Temps, 25 Nov, 

6 



82 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Skouloudis, irritated by a fresh exhibition of mistrust, 
told the French Minister that, in face of such a state of 
things, nothing was left for his unhappy country but to 
order at once a general demobilization, and let the Entente 
Powers do what they liked to her, M. Guillemin cried out, 
" Ah, no. I am decidedly against demobihzation." 
Naturally : " the Greek Army," said Sir Thomas Cuning- 
hame, the British MiUtary Attache, to General Moscho- 
poulos, MiUtary Governor of Salonica, " saves and secures 
the flanks and rear of the AUies."^ 

However, the story served the purpose of supplying a 
pretext for pressure. All ships carrying foodstuffs and 
other commodities were held up. In addition, Milo — 
an island not far from Athens — ^was occupied, and the 
Alhed Fleet was ordered to be ready, in case things should 
be pushed to extremes, to open war on Greek commerce, 
to destroy the Greek Fleet, and to bombard Athens, en 
respectant les monuments anciens.^ 

Fortunately, the occasion for extreme measures, by 
which even the ancient ruins might have suffered, did not 
arise. General Sarrail, who at first urged that the naval 
demonstration against Athens should be proceeded with 
immediatel3^ on second thoughts, prompted by nervous- 
ness as to the safety of his troops, deprecated such action. 
At the same time, M. Skouloudis, alarmed by the blockade — 
— Greece never has more than a very limited food reserve 
— invited the Alhes to state their demands, saying that 
he would accede to them if it was possible to do so.^ 

^^^lereupon the Alhes, " ever animated by the most 
benevolent intentions towards Greece, and anxious that 
the equivocal situation in which events had placed her 
towards them should come to an end and their relations 
be re-established on a basis of mutual and lasting con- 
fidence," demanded first of all a formal assurance that 
in no circumstances would the Greek troops attempt to 
disarm or intern the retiring Alhed troops, but that the 
policy of benevolent neutrality promised would be main- 
tained with all its consequences. They disavowed any 
wish or intention to compel the Hellenic Government to 

1 Skouloudis, Apantesis, pp. 4-5 ; Semeioseis, p. 46. 

* Journal Officiel, pp. 71-2. 

3 Life of Kitchener, Vol. Ill, p. 199-203. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 83 

participate in the European War from which it had declared 
that it meant to hold aloof. But it was a vital necessity 
for them not to let it in any way hinder the freedom of 
their movements on land or sea, or compromise the security 
of their troops throughout the field of their operations. 
They therefore must be assured that they will obtain, 
according to the promise already given by M. Zaimis, all 
the facilities which they might require, notably in the port 
of Salonica and on the roads and railways. It was under- 
stood that the Entente Powers would restore in full at the 
end of the War all the parts of Greek territory which they 
might be obliged to occupy during the hostilities, and that 
they would duly pay indemnities for all damage caused 
by the occupation. ^ 

M. Skouloudis, after thanking the Entente Powers for 
the benevolent intentions with which they declared 
themselves to be animated towards Greece, willingly 
repeated the assurances he had so many times already 
given, that the Greek troops would in no circumstances 
seek to disarm or intern the Allied troops, and that the 
Greek Government in its relations with the Entente 
Powers would in everything hold fast to its policy of 
benevolent neutraUty. He once more noted the reiterated 
disavowal by the AlHed Governments of any wish or 
intention to force Greece into the War, and on his part 
disavowed any wish or intention to hinder in any way the 
freedom of their movements on land or sea, or to com- 
promise in any way the security of their troops. The 
Hellenic Government had always kept the promises made 
by M. Zaimis to the very utmost of its ability, and had no 
difficulty in renewing the assurance that the Allied Govern- 
ments would continue to receive all the facilities their 
troops might require in the port of Salonica, and on the 
roads and railways.^ 

These prefatory amenities led on lo December to a 
detailed Agreement, the Greek Government promising to 
move its troops out of the way and " not to oppose by force 
the construction of defensive works or the occupation of 
fortified points," but reserving to itself the right to protest 

^ Communication by the Entente Ministers, Athens, 10/23 Nov., 

1915- 
2 Skouloudis lo Entente Ministers, Athens, 11/24 Nov., 1915. 



81 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

against such operations " energetically and seriously, not 
as a mere form " — a right which the AUies easily con- 
ceded^ — and emphatically declaring that "should the 
Alhed troops by their movements bring the war into 
Greek territory, the Greek troops would withdraw so as to 
leave the field free to the two parties to settle their differ- 
ences." 

The Entente Ministers expressed their satisfaction, and 
M. Skouloudis expressed the hope that their Governments, 
convinced at last of the Greek Government's sincerity, 
would not only drop coercion, but complj' with its request 
for financial and commercial facilities. They promised 
that all difticulties would disappear as soon as the mihtary 
authorities on the spot had given effect to the agi-eement ; 
and the French Minister repeated his Government's 
declaration that it would be happ}' to accord Greece all 
financial and commercial faciUties as soon as the situation 
cleared. ^ 

^ " Le Goiivernement Grec se reservait de protester; nous nous 
riservions de ne pas ripondre. {Hires)." M. Briand in the Journal 
Officiel, p. 72. 

2 White Book, No. 54. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE situation did not clear — how could it ? 
Of all diplomatic fictions that of " benevolence " is 
perhaps the most incompatible with the grim 
realities of war. 

General Sarrail had from the outset been empowered 
to take any measures which he might judge necessary at 
his discretion. But fear of the Greek army for a time 
compelled him to temper vigour with caution. That fear 
decreased in proportion as the Allied contingents in 
Macedonia increased ; and hence a series of acts which 
show how the General used his discretion. 

First, he judged it necessary to blow up the bridge of 
Demir-Hissar. He blew it up — thus completely cutting 
off the Greek forces in Eastern Macedonia, and, incidentally, 
letting the enemy know that no offensive across the 
Struma was contemplated by the Allies. Next, he judged 
it necessar}^ to seize the Fort of Kara-Burnu which com- 
mands the entrance to Salonica Harbour. He seized it — 
despite a solemn engagement to the contrary. ^ Then he 
judged it necessary to occupy the town of Fiorina. He 
occupied it. An appreciation of the efficacy or expediencj^ 
of these measures — beyond a passing allusion to the obvious 
blunder committed by the destruction of the Demir-Hissar 
bridge — would be out of place here. For our present 
purpose their interest lies in the light they throw upon 
the conditions, apart from the purely military difficulties, 
created by the intrusion of foreign troops on neutral soil. 

Afloat the Alhes were not less vigorous than ashore. 
They judged it necessary to occupy Corfu, in order to 
accommodate the remnants of the Servian army that had 
escaped across Albania. They occupied Corfu. They 
judged it necessary to occupy Castellorizo, an islet off the 
coast of Asia Minor. They occupied Castellorizo. They 

* See the Agreement of lo Dec, 1915 (Art, 5), White Book, No. 54 ; 
Sarrail, pp. 94-6, 322-30. 

85 



86 tiKKEC'h: AND TIIK ALLIES 

jiidf'.cd it iicccssiiiy Id ()((ii|)y Siula \'..\\ in CicN- aiKl 
Arf,'osloli Jiay in Ccplialonia, I licy ()((:iiiii<(l (Ihiii. 

Il is Wollliy of Utile Ih.il llir o((:ii|)ati()ii <»l ( ,i .|i llm i/.o 
was |)r('j)ait{| hy a local icvoK sliiicd ii|) hy the I'niich 
Consular and Naval aiillioiilics,' and that (lie («( npalion 
oi (Oilii I iih J il iilcd a II.iiM.inl \'i(ilaliiin ol inh i nal idnal 
jiarl'. (Iitalif. MJ I (ihdon, i.j Nov., j8()j, and „-() Manli, 
lH().|) III wJiiili llic Ivnicnic rowcis wi^rc sif.naloi ics, and 
liy viitnc ol vvliii II Ihf ]i(i|i(hial n(utralily ol llic island 
was KH'"'ii'd<'('d a'. ■,lii(ll\ a. IJi.il ol Hcl/'jinn - a circuni- 
slaiicc thai affoidcd llu- Ccidial J'ovvii'. an o|>|ioi I unily 
to protest a^'ainst An/.^lo-Fren(li conleniiil loi the sanclily 
ol llealies.- 

Anioni; otiiei ailiiliaiy |ii oce((lin|;s may lie nientionid 
nnnnion'. aricls and d( poi la! ions ot cn(iny suhjecls 
and ( on:a 1 1;., and even t lie (Mini ion of some Greek subjects, 
|i\' the Allied niililai\' and na\al ani lioi it i(,'S.' 

A/,'ainst ea( li ol these enei'oaeluneiils nj)on its soverei/^idy 
the (ireek (io\( rnni< nl j)rotested with e\'er-(leeiieiiin/^ 
liillerness. 'I'lie iudente (lovei imients a(ee]ited its jiio- 
tests and disie^'aided them: intei national Law is the 
will of the stroniMi. liesides, says M. J-Jiiand. " we were 
there in a country where force is more elleetivc than 
anywhere else."* From this ul lei nnc, \\hi( h was received 
1)\' the I'Vench Chamhei' with apjilause, we ;m t a /.glimpse 
inio the workin(.;s ol the ollii ial l'Jitent( mind, and moie 
than a f^limpse of the ('jiidiuf^' piint ipli s ol I'.nlenle policy 
in (ireece (huin/^ thai period. 

The reason for that policy pul)licl\' allcf^ed was, as we 
have seen, the Allies' need to do theii' own li/^ddinj^ in 

• Sl«(iulnni!i'i Id ( aeck l-fgnlioii, I'.iiis, i .', i.], Mi Dvv. (O.S.); 

(illillflllill 111 SIviiiildlKli'l, l(i/-'<> |)rc. ; Si((illlnii(|is lo ( J llillflllil], 

1 7/v> I ><•( , oil ■, 

" Skiilll.Mliili Id I'lllrlilr IVl ill islci S, AlilCII'l, )1 ])(■(■., |(;l'-,/l3 

Jan., OMd; <<iy|i;ui:i, Vicima, .1/17 Jan., i<)it>. 

" AinonK till" Urcflc Stale Papers llierc is a v«iluiniii<Mis lilr l.iliclicd 
" Vidlatidiia (if llellciiii: Nfiitr.ility liy tlu- I'litciite Allies." It 
Cdiitaiiiri a m.iHs of (:diii|ihiiiils l>y the Central I'tiwcrs Id the (ireek 
(joverniiienl an<l liy tlu- (iri'ck (icjveriunenl to tlie Juilente (iovcrn- 
inenls. S|i(.-(ial atlcntion is drawn td the ca.se of two (ireeka ])iit 
to Uealh liy the I'rcneli military authoritieH in Macedonia lor having 
lieen found in possession of (Jernian i)roelaniations drojipcd from 
oero()lanfs : See Skouloudis to Frencli Legation, Athens, i3/a6 
Apul, n)i<). 

* Juuniul Ojffiiiitl, p, 70. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 87 

peace and security. Their real aim, M. Skouloudis believed, 
was to draw Greece gradually into the War. In so belie\'ing 
he interpreted correctly the French Government's views 
as the French Government itself had expounded them to 
the Britisli Government: " To bring Greece in."^ With 
that as one of its objects the Salonica expedition had 
been persisted in ; and as Greece persisted in standing out, 
the question resolved itself into one of continuous pressme. 

M. Skouloudis was confirmed in his behef by the fact 
that the Allies would not allow dcmobihzation, and at the 
same time would not lend Greece the 150 million francs 
which had been promised : they knew, through the 
Liternational iMnancial Commission, that the mobilized 
army swallowed up every available resource, and they 
calculated that, when the strain reached tiie breaking 
point, Greece would fall at their feet and beg for relief at 
any price : the Ministry would have either to give way 
or make place for one which favoured war. The Ministry, 
determined to do neither, cast about for some means of 
making ends meet, when Germany came forwai^d \vith an 
offer to lend tem|)orarily a portion of the sum promised 
by France. This offer, though, of course, prompted by 
the desire to enable Greece to maintain her neutrality, 
was free from any political conditions, and M. Skouloudis 
accepted it thankfully. Negotiations began on 20 No- 
vember, 191 5, and by 7 March, 1916, an instalment of 
40 million francs was actually paid. For obvious reasons 
the transaction was carried through without the knowledge 
of the Allies, from whom the Greek Premier still cherished 
some faint hopes of receiving the 150 millions. ° 

Whether he had any right to cherish such hopes, after 
accepting iinancial assistance from their enemies, is a 
very nice ethical point ; but a nicer point still is, whether 
the Allies luul any right left to question the ethics of 
others. M. Skouloudis doubtless could plead in self- 
justification that his remaining armed was admittedly a 
boon to them, as much as his remaining neutral was a 
boon to their enemies ; and that both sides should therefore 
help to defray the cost. He was impartial. However, 
his hopes were dashed to the ground. 

' Life of Kitrhrvrr, Vol. HI, p. 261. 

^Skouloudis, Apantesis, pp. j-ii; White Book, No«. 75-8 
82-3,88,91. 



88 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

On 5 April the French and British Ministers called on 
the Premier and informed him that the Ser\'ian army at 
Corfu, having suthcienth' rested and recovered, the Entente 
proposed to transport it to Salonica through Greece, and 
they had no doubt that Greece would readily consent. 
M. Skouloudis replied that Greece could not possibly 
consent. The transport of over 100,000 men across the 
country would mean interruption of railway traffic and 
suspension of all economic life for at least two months ; 
it would expose the population to the danger of infection 
by the epidemic diseases from which the Serbs had been 
suffering ; above all, it would be regarded b}' the Central 
Powers as a breach of neutrality and might force Greece 
into the War against her will. M. Skouloudis iirged these 
reasons with all the firmness, and more than all the plain- 
ness, that diplomacy allowed, ending up with an emphatic : 
" No, gentlemen, such a thing we will not permit. I 
declare this to you officially. " 

" Our Governments," retorted the French Minister, 
" have not instructed us to ask for your permission, but 
to notify to you their decision." 

M. Skouloudis was a proud old man, fiercely jealous of 
his country's independence and inflexible in his defence 
of it. Of his iron determination he had already given the 
Alhes ample proof. But hitherto he had kept his gathering 
indignation under control. He could do so no longer : 
the Frenchman's speech and, more than the speech, the 
manner in which it had been dehvered, were too much for 
his feelings. 

" And I," he repeated, " declare to you that my Govern- 
ment's decision is not to permit this overland passage — 
further, I declare to you that, in the contrary event, I 
shall find myself under the necessity of blowing up the 
railway," — then, in a crescendo of rage, he went on : 
' ' You have left us nothing sound in this country — neither 
self-respect, nor dignity, nor hberty, nor the right to live 
as free men. But do not forget that there is a hmit to 
the most benevolent patience and to the most wilhng 
compliance, that one last drop makes the cup overflow. ..." 

The British Minister, seeing that the conversation with 
his colleague grew every moment more tempestuous, 
interposed by asking if Greece would equally object to a 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 89 

sea-passage of the Serbs by the Canal of Cormth ; and, 
the Cabinet having been consulted, a favourable answer 
was given. But meanwhile the demand for an overland 
passage was pressed by the Servian Minister, and was 
supported by all the Entente representatives. Again 
M. Skouloudis gave a categorical refusal, and in a tele- 
graphic circular to the Greek Ministers in London, Rome, 
and Petrograd — experience had taught him that it was 
worse than useless to argue with Paris — he reiterated the 
reasons why Greece could not consent, laying special 
stress on the now inflamed state of public opinion, and 
pointing out that the dangers of the sea route were greatly 
exaggerated since most of the journey would be through 
close waters. He added that, in view of the absence of 
any real military necessity for an overland transport, 
and of the international consequences which compliance 
involved, the whole civilized world would justify Greece 
in her refusal and condemn any coercion on the part of 
the Entente as an outrage. He concluded by requesting 
the Greek Ministers to place all these reasons before the 
respective Governments in order that, on realizing the 
iniquity of the project, they might use all their influence 
to dissuade the French Government from it. England 
appreciated the force of M. Skouloudis's arguments and, 
thanks to her, diplomatic pressure ceased. But there 
remained another form of pressm'e, from which France 
would not desist. 

M. Briand angrily declared that, under the circumstances, 
there could be no talk of a loan. M. Skouloudis pleaded 
that Greece had not asked the loan as a price for the 
violation of her neutrality ; she had asked it on the 
supposition that the Entente Powers could not see with 
indifference her military and economic paralysis.^ 

The plea made no impression ; and, rebufted by Paris, 
M. Skouloudis's Government once more turned to Berlin. 
It received another credit of forty million marks ; but, 
notwithstanding this supply, day by day it saw its expenses 
increasing and its revenues diminishing. Besides the men 
under arms, there were crowds of destitute refugees from 
Turkey, Bulgaria and Servia to be provided for, and the 
native population, owing to the rise in the cost of living 

^ Skouloudis, Senieioscis, pp. 33-6 ; White Book, Nos. 57-63. 



[)0 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

and to unemploj'ment, also stood in urgent need of relief. 
At the same time, customs and other receipts became 
more and more precarious owing to the Allies' constant 
interference with the freedom of commerce.^ 

Truly, after the Allies' landing on her soil, the neutrality 
of Greece became something unique in the annals of 
international jurisprudence : a case defj-ing all known 
maxims, except Machiavelli's maxim, that, when placed 
between two warring powers, it is better for a state to 
join even the losing side than try to remain neutral. By 
trying to do so, Greece could not avoid, even with the 
utmost circumspection, exposing herself to insult and injur}'. 

One more corollary of the Salonica Expedition deserves 
to be noted. Since the beginning of the War, Athens, 
Like other neutral capitals, had become the centre of 
international intrigue and espionage ; each belligerent 
group establishing, beside their ofi&cially accredited 
diplomatic missions, secret services and propagandas. 
In aim, both establishments were ahke. But their oppor- 
tunities were not equal. The Germans had to rely for 
procuring information and influencing public opinion on 
the usual methods. The French and the British added 
to those methods others of a more unusual character. 

From the riffraff of the Levant they had recruited a 
large detective force which operated under the sanctuary 
of their Legations.* The primary function of these gentry 
was to discover attempts at the fuelling and victualling 
of German submarines ; and, stimulated by a permanent 
offer of a reward of £2,000 from the British Minister, they 
did their best to discharge this necessary function. Hardly 
a day passed without their suppl3ing information which, 
transmitted to the Fleets, led to raids at all points of the 
Greek coasts and isles. Let one or two examples suffice 
for many. 

^ Skouloudis, Apaniesis, pp. 12-14. 

* Of the 162 individuals who, by the end of 1916, composed the 
personnel of the Franco-British Secret Police at Athens, only about 
60 were natives of Old Greece ; the rest came from Crete, Con- 
stantinople, Smyrna, etc. An anal3'sis of the official List, signed 
by the Prefect of the Greek Police, reveals among them : 7 pick- 
pockets, 8 murderers, 9 ex-brigands, 10 smugglers, 11 thieves, 
21 gamblers, 20 White Slave traffickers. The balance is made up 
of men with no visible means of subsistence. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 91 

The French Intelligence Service reported that the 
Achilleion — the Kaiser's summer palace at Corfu — was a 
thoroughly organized submarine base, with a wharf, stores 
of petrol, and pipes for carrying it down to the water's 
edge. On investigation, the wharf turned out to be an 
ordinary landing stage for the palace, the stores a few tins 
of petrol for the imperial motor cars, and the pipes water- 
closet drains.^ 

In consequence of similar " information received from a 
trustworthy source " — that a Greek steamer had b}' order 
of the Greek Government transported to Gerakini and 
handed over to the Custom House authorities for the use 
of German submarines a quantity of benzine — a French 
detachment of marines landed, forced its way into the 
Custom House, and proceeded to a minute perquisition, 
even digging up the ground. The result was negative, 
and the officer commanding the detachment had to apolo- 
gize to the Chief of the Custom House. Whereupon the 
Greek Government asked the French Minister for the 
source of the information, adding that it was time the 
Allies ceased from putting faith in the words of unscrupu- 
lous agents and proceeding to acts both fruitless and 
insulting.* 

Were the Alhes in the mood to use ordinary intelligence, 
they would have seen the truth themselves ; for not one 
discovery, after the most rigorous search, was ever made 
anywhere to confirm the reports of the Secret Services.* 
As it was, the spies were able to justify their existence 
by continuing to create work for their employers ; and the 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 1 15-17 ; Skouloudis to Greek Legation, Paris, 
19 Feb./4 March, 1916. 

2 Politis to Guillemin, 9/22 Feb., 1916. 

^ Considering the extent of the coast-Hne of Greece and the 
poverty of her inhabitants, this would be incredible, were it not 
attested by the Allies' Naval Commander-in-Chief, whose task it 
was to verify every report transmitted to him : " Jamais un seul 
de ses avis n'a H& reconnu exact ; la plupart itaient visiblenient 
absurdes." " Malgri les verifications les plus r&pHies jamais un 
seul de ces fails n'a dt& reconnu exact. Un certain nombre de 
coquins, incompetents mais malins, vivaient du commerce de ces 
fausses nouvelles." — Du Fournet, pp. 115, 304. Cp. also pp. 85, 
270. The French Admiral of Patrols, Faton, and the British 
Admiral Kerr, are equally emphatic in testifying " that all these 
stories about supplying the submarines were fabrications." — See 
Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, in the Morning Post, 13 Dec, 1920. 



92 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

lengths to which they were prepared to go are well illus- 
trated by a case that formed the subject of some questions 
in the House of Commons. M. CalUmassiotis, a well- 
known Greek Deputy, was denounced by the French 
Secret Service as directing an organization for the supply 
of fuel and information about the movements of Allied 
shipping to German submarines. A burglarious visit to 
his house at the Piraus yielded a rich harvest of com- 
promising documents. The British Secret Service joined 
in following up the clues, and two Mohammedan merchants 
of Canea were arrested and deported to Malta on unim- 
peachable evidence of complicity. Closer investigation 
proved the whole affair from beginning to end a web of 
forgery and fraud. The hoax ended in the British Minister 
at Athens apologizing to the Greek Deputy, and in the 
Mohammedan merchants being brought back home as 
guests aboard a British destroyer.^ 

Thus a new field was opened up to those who wished 
to ruin business competitors, to revenge themselves on 
personal enemies, or, above all, to compromise political 
opponents. From the words of Admiral Dartige : "The 
revelations of the Venizelist Press concerning the revictu- 
alling of German submarines in Greece are a tissue of 
absurd legends," ^ we learn the main source of these myths 
and also the principal motive. For if M. Venizelos and 
his party had, b}^ their voluntary abstention, deprived 
themselves of a voice inside the Chamber, they more than 
made amends by their agitation out of doors. The 
coercion of Greece came as grist to their mill. The Liberal 
newspapers triumphantly pointed to it as concrete proof 
of the wisdom of their Leader's policy, and held up the 
names of the men who had thwarted him to obloquy and 
scorn. M. Skouloudis and his colleagues were abused for 
drawing down upon the country through their duplicity 
the wrath of the Powers which could best help or harm it. 
The " revelations " served a twofold purpose : to foster 
the belief that they promoted secretly the interests of 
Germany, and to furnish the Allies with fresh excuses for 
coercion. And in the Franco-British InteUigence organi- 
zation the scheming brain of M. Venizelos found a ready- 

1 J. C. Lawson, Tales of /Egean Intrigue, pp. 93-142. 

2 Du Fournet, p. 304. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 93 

fashioned tool : men willingly shut their eyes to the most 
evident truths that hinder their designs, and readily 
accept any myth that furthers them. 

Nor did that organization assist M. Venizelos merely 
by traducing his opponents' characters and wounding 
their amour-propre. In March, 1916, the Chief of the 
French Secret Service, at a conference of the AlUed 
admirals, proposed that they should lay hands on the 
internal affairs of Greece : that they should stick at 
nothing — qn' on devait tout oser. The motion was rejected 
with disgust by the honest sailors. But the mover was 
in direct communication with political headquarters in 
Paris ; and his plan was only deferred. Meanwhile he 
and his associates with the rogues in their pay made 
themselves useful by collaborating in the VenizeUst 
agitation, mixing themselves up in party disturbances, 
carrying out open perquisitions and clandestine arrests, 
and preparing the ground for graver troubles in the future.^ 

The representatives of the Entente at Athens pursued 
these unedifying tactics in the firm conviction that the 
cause of M. Venizelos was their cause ; which was true 
enough in the sense that on him alone they could count 
to bring Greece into the War without conditions. As to 
the Entente publics, M. Venizelos was their man in a less 
sober sense : he kept repeating to them that his opponents 
under the guise of neutrality followed a hostile policy, 
and that his own party's whole activity was directed to 
preventing the King from ranging himself openly on the 
side of the Central Powers. The Entente Governments, 
whatever they may have thought of these tactics and 
slanders, did not dream of forbidding the one or of contra- 
dicting the other, since the former aided their client and 
the latter created an atmosphere which relieved them 
from all moral restraints. 

They only upbraided M. Venizelos gently for keeping 
out of Parliament. So M. Venizelos, seeing that he had 
gained nothing by abstention and forgetting that he had 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 1 12-16. In this work we find a full picture of 
the French Secret Service. Unfortunately, or fortunately, no 
authoritative record has been published of its British counterpart. 
Mr. Lawson's account deals only with a provincial branch of the 
establishment. 



94 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

pronounced the Chamber unconstitutional, obeyed. Early 
in May, two of his partisans carried two bye-elections in 
Eastern Macedonia, and the leader himself was returned 
by the island of Mytilene. Three seats in Parliament 
could not overturn M. Skouloudis ; and it cannot be said 
that his re-appearance on the scene enhanced the credit 
of M. Venizelos with the nation. Ever since the landing 
of the AlHes, and largely through their own actions, his 
prestige in Greece declined progressively. He was re- 
proached more and more bitterly for his " invitation " 
to them ; and these reproaches grew the louder, the 
closer he drew to the foreigners and the farther he di\'erged 
from his own King. In a letter from Athens, dated 
24 May, occurs the following passage : " Venizelos becomes 
every day more and more of a red repubhcan. How that 
man has "duped everybody ! We all thought him a genius, 
and he simply is an ambitious maniac." 

Later on M. Venizelos explained why he had not already 
revolted. A revolution there and then, no doubt, would 
have saved a lot of trouble ; " But before the idea of 
revolution matures in the mind and soul of a statesman, 
there is need for some evolution, which cannot be accom- 
plished in a few moments," he said. Since October, this 
idea had had time to evolve in his mind and soul. But 
his hate of " tyranny " was not blind. It was pecuharly 
clear-sighted, and he judged the difficulties with precision : 
" Such a step would not have been favoured by the Entente 
Powers, whose support would have been indispensable for 
its success." Then again : "If before the Bulgarian 
invasion of Macedonia I had kindled a civil war, pubhc 
opinion would have held me responsible for the invasion, 
and that would certainly have arrested my movement."^ 

It so chanced that, scarcely had a fortnight passed since 
his reappearance in the Chamber, when the Bulgars 
provided M. Venizelos and at least one of the Entente 
Powers with this requisite for their evolution. 

1 The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7 ; Orations, pp. 142-3. 



CHAPTER IX 

WHEN M. Venizelos taunted M. Skouloudis with 
forgetting that he had promised the AUies " not 
only simple neutrality, nor simply benevolent 
neutrality, but most sincerely benevolent neutrality," the 
aged Prime Minister, who apparently had a sense of 
humour, replied : " I do not know how there can be such 
a thing as benevolent neutrality. A neutrality really 
benevolent towards one of the belligerents is really male- 
volent towards the other, consequently it is more or less 
undisguised partiality. Between benevolence and male- 
volence there is no room for neutrahty." He only knew, 
he said, one kind of neutrality — the absolute neutrality 
towards both belligerents.^ And he hved up to his 
knowledge so conscientiously that he earned the gratitude 
of neither, but saw himself the sport of both. 

No sooner had the Alhes begun to fall back from 
Krivolak, than the German Mihtary Attache at Athena 
presented to King Constantine a telegram from General 
von Falkenhayn, dated 29 November, 1915, in which the 
Chief of the German General Staff intimated that, if 
Greece failed to disarm the retreating Entente forces or 
to obtain their immediate re-embarkation, the development 
of hostilities might very probabty compel the Germans 
and the Bulgars to cross her frontiers. After a consulta- 
tion, the Skouloudis Cabinet replied through the King 
that Greece did not consent to a violation of her soil ; 
but if the violation bore no hostile character towards 
herself, she would refrain from opposing it by force of arms 
on certain guarantees : that the Bulgars should categori- 
cally renounce every claim to territories now in Greek 
possession, that simultaneously with their entry into 
Macedonia Greece should be allowed to occupy Monastir 
as a pledge for their exit, that in no circumstance whatever 
should the King of Bulgaria or his sons enter Salonica, 
1 Orations, p. 155 ; Skouloudis's Semeioseis, p. 36. 
95 



96 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

that all commands should be exclusively in German hands, 
and so forth — altogether nineteen conditions, the principal 
object of which was to ward off the danger of a permanent 
occupation, but the effect of which w^ould have been to 
hamper mihtary operations most seriously. 

The German Government, perturbed by the extent and 
nature of the guarantees demanded, referred the matter 
to Falkenhayn, who would only grant three comprehensive 
assurances : to respect the integrity of Greece, to restore 
the occupied territories at the end of the campaign, and 
to pay an indemnity for all damage caused. On those 
terms, he invited Greece to remove her army from Mace- 
donia so as to avoid the possibiHty of an accidental collision. 
The King refused, giving among other reasons that such 
a concession had been denied to the Entente. Thereupon 
Falkenhavn asked, as an alternative to a total evacuation, 
that Greece should pledge herself to resist Entente landings 
in the Gulfs of Cavalla and Katerini. Again Greece 
refused, on the ground that this would involve the use 
of force against the Entente, whereas she w^as determined 
not to abandon her neutrahty as long as her interests, in 
her own opinion, did not compel her so to do.^ 

After this answer, given on 27 January, 1916, conversa- 
tions on the subject ceased for about six weeks. 

Thus it appears that during the period when the Alhes 
were, or professed to be, most nervous about the intentions 
of Greece, it was the fear of Greek hostihty, carefully 
nursed by Greek diplomacy, that checked the Germans 
and the Bulgars from following up their advantage and 
sweeping the Franco-British troops into the sea. It was 
the same attitude of Greece that made the enemy hesitate 
to break into Macedonia during the following months, 
and gave the Alhes time to fortify themselves. 

On 14 March, Falkenhayn returned to the charge, and 
was once more met with a Hst of exorbitant conditions. 
This time the conversations assumed the character of 
recriminations ; the Greek Government complaining of 
Bulgarian encroachments on the neutral zone fixed along 
the frontier, Falkenhayn retorting that the provocative 
movements of the Entente Forces obUged the Central 
Powers to fortify their positions and threatening a rupture 
1 White Book, Nos. 70-4, 79, 81, 84, 86-90. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 97 

if the Greek soldiers continued to hinder the Bulgars.''- 
Then, after another interval, he announced (7 May) that, 
owing to an English advance across the Struma, he found 
it absolutely necessary to secure in self-defence the Rupel 
Pass — key of the Strmna Valley. ^ 

M. Skouloudis endeavoured to make the German Govern- 
ment dissuade the General Staff from its project. Falken- 
hayn, he said, was misinformed as to an English advance 
— only small mounted patrols had crossed the Struma. 
He suspected that he was deceived and instigated by the 
Bulgars who, under cover of military exigencies, sought 
to realize their well-known ambitions at the expense of 
Greece. Their frequent misdeeds had already irritated 
Greek public opinion to such a degree that he could not 
answer for the consequences, should the project be carried 
out. The appearance of Bulgarian troops in Macedonia 
would create a national ferment of which Venizelos and 
the Entente Powers would take advantage in order to 
overthrow the present Ministr}' and force Greece into war.' 

Impressed b}/ these arguments, the German Government 
did its utmost to induce Falkenhayn to abandon his 
scheme ; von Jagow even going so far as to di'aw up, 
with the assistance of the Greek Minister at Berlin, a 
remonstrance to the Chief of the General Staff. But it 
was all to no purpose. The pohtical department had very 
little influence over the High Command. Falkenhayn 
insisted on the accuracy of his information, and adhered 
to his own point of view. He could not understand, he 
said, why a German move should cause any special excite- 
ment in Greece, seeing that it was directed against the 
French and the English, who paid no heed to Greek 
susceptibilities, and he irritably complained that, while 
Greece allowed the Entente full liberty to improve its 
position day by day, she raised the greatest obstacles to 
Germany's least demand.* In brief, from being more or 
less pHant, the Chief of the General StaH became rigid : 
he would no longer submit to rebuffs and denials. Strategic 
reasons, perhaps, had brought about this change ; perhaps 
the Bulgars were the instigators. It is impossible to say, 

1 White Book, Nos. 92, 93, 96-102. ^ White Book, No. 104. 

3 White Book, Nos. 106, iii, 113. 
* White Book, Nos. no, 112, 116. 



98 GUEECE AND THE ALLIES 

and it docs not much matter. The essential fact is that 
the man had power and meant to use it. 

There followed a formal communication from the 
German and Bulgarian Ministers at Athens to M. Skoulou- 
dis, stating that their troops were compelled in self-defence 
to push into Greek territor\^ and assuring him that neither 
the integrity and sovereignty of Greece nor the persons 
and property of the inhabitants would in any way suffer 
by this temporary occupation. M. Skouloudis took note 
of this decision without assenting to it, but also without 
protesting : he felt, he said, that a premature protest 
could onlv lose Greece the guarantees of restoration and 
reparation offered. Sufhcient unto the da}/ the evil thereof : 
confronted with powerful Empires in the height of their 
mihtary strength, he had done all that was humanly 
possible to ward off their advance, and, though unsuccess- 
ful in the end, he had at least obtained a solemn pledge of 
their ultimate retreat. The protest came a few days later, 
when the invasion actually took place. ^ 

On 26 i\Iay, a Germano-Bulgarian force appeared at 
Rupel. The garrison, in accordance Anth its instructions 
of 27 April (O.S.) to resist any advance bej^ond 500 metres 
from the frontier line, fired upon the invaders and drove 
them back. But on fresh orders reaching it to follow 
the instructions of g March (O.S.) — which prescribed that, 
in the event of a foreign invasion, the Greek troops should 
withdraw — it surrendered the fort.* 

In Entente circles it had long been assumed that, let 
the King and his Government do what they liked, the 
instant a Bulgarian foot stepped over the border, soldiers 
and civilians would fly to arms. Nothing of the sort 
happened. However painful to their feelings their orders 
might be, the soldiers obej'ed them. Among the ci\dlians 
also the shock, severe as it was, produced no demoralization. 
The Greek people generally understood that the surrender 
of Rupel was an inevitable consequence of the landing at 
Salonica. Nevertheless, the fears of M. Skouloudis that 

1 White Book, Nos. 117-20, 134, 135 ; Skouloudis's Apantesis, 
pp. 25-6. 

2 White Book, Nos. 95, 105, 126, 130-33, 137. The instructions 
of 27 April had been issued chiefly in consequence of information 
that bands of Bulgarian irregulars [Comitadjis) were at that moment 
preparing to cross the frontier. Skouloudis's Apantesis, p. 23. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 99 

a Bulgarian invasion would place a powerful weapon in 
the hands of his opponents were abundantly fulfilled. 

By representing the event as the result of a treacherous 
collusion between Athens and the Central Powers/ M. 
Venizelos roused the Alhed nations to fury. Their Govern- 
ments, of course, knew better. Even in France official 
persons recognized that the occupation of Rupel was a 
defensive operation which Greece could not oppose by 
force. Yet they had hoped that she would have averted 
it by diplomatic action. As it was, they concluded that 
she must have received from the Central Powers very 
strong assurances that the occupied territories would be 
restored to her. In any case, they said, the Skouloudis 
Cabinet's passivity in face of a move calculated to prejudice 
the Allies' military position contradicted its oft-repeated 
protestations of a benevolent neutraHty towards them.^ 

M. Skouloudis hastened to vindicate his conduct. He 
did not tell the Entente Powers, as he might have done, 
that he had by diplomatic action put off an invasion for 
six months, and thus enabled them to increase their 
forces and consolidate their position. Neither did he tell 
them another thing which in itself formed an ample 
refutation of the charge of collusion — that on 27 April 
(10 May) General Sarrail had occupied the frontier fort 
Dova-tep^ with the tacit consent of the Hellenic Govern- 
ment, which had deliberately excluded that fort from the 
instructions of resistance issued that day to its troops, 
and that Greek officers urged him at the same time to 
occupy Rupel, dwelling on the military importance of the 
fort for the defence of Eastern Macedonia ; an advice 
which the French General had ignored on the ground that 
Rupel lay altogether outside the Allies' zone of action, 
and he could not spare the troops necessary for its occupa- 
tion." 

^ The charge was supported by garbled "extracts" from the 
instructions to the Greek troops (the full texts of which may now 
be read in the White Book), published in Paris. See the Saturday 
Review, lo Sept., 1921, pp. 321-2, citing the Petit Parisien of Dec, 
1916. 

^ White Book, Nos. 140, 146. 

^ Sarrail, p. 104. Anyone familiar with the political and psycho- 
logical atmosphere would have seen that the Greeks were anxious 
to keep the Bulgars out by inducing the French to forestall them. 



100 (JREECE AND THE ALLIES 

The Greek Premier simply said that his Government's 
passivity was in strict accord with the exphcit declarations 
of its policy and intentions, enunciated at the very outset, 
ratified by the Agreement of lo December, 1915, and 
reiterated ad nauseam to the Entente Ministers — viz., that 
" should the Allied troops by their movements bring the 
war into Greek territory, the Greek troops would withdraw 
so as to leave the field free to the two parties to settle 
their differences." Far from changing his attitude, he 
once more, in reply to M. Briand's threat that. " if the 
Bulgarian advance continued \nthout resistance there 
might ensue the most serious consequences for the Hellenic 
Government," emphatically declared : " Resistance is only 
possible if we abandon our neutrality, and the demand 
that we should resist is therefore in flagrant contradiction 
to the oft-repeated protestations of the Entente Powers 
that they have neither the \\ish nor the intention to force 
us into the War." Nor could he understand how the}' 
could think of blaming Greece for recei\'ing from the Central 
Powers the same assurances of eventual restoration as 
those given by themselves.^ 

M. Skouloudis spoke in vain. Paris had made up its 
mind to treat the incident as indicating a new and male- 
volent orientation against which it behoved the Allies to 
protect themselves. Accordingly, on i June, M. Briand 
authorized General Sarrail to proclaim a state of siege at 
Salonica. 

General Sarrail, who had long sought to be freed from 
the trammels of Greek sovereignty — " et a. etre tnaitre chez 
nioi " — but had hitherto been denied his wish by the 
British Government, jumped at the permission, and he 
improved upon it with a personal touch, trivial yet charac- 
teristic. So far back as 27 April he had recomm.endcd 
that " we must strike at the head, attack frankh- and 
squarely the one enemy — the King." Pending an oppor- 
tunity to strike, he seized the occasion to slight. He 
fixed the proclamation for 3 June, King Ccnstantine's 
name day, which was to be celebrated at Salonica as in 
every other town of the kingdom \rith a solemn Tc Deiim. 

But Sarrail detected in their advice a subtle contrivance either to 
find out his plans, or to cast the blame for the loss of Rupel on him I 
1 White Book, No. 142. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 101 

The British General, Mihie, who had arranged to assist at 
the Te Deum, after vainly trying to obtain at least a 
postponement of the date out of respect for the King, 
found himself obliged to yield. And so on that festal 
morning martial law was proclaimed. Allied detachments 
with machine guns occupied various strategic points, the 
public offices were taken possession of, the chiefs of the 
Macedonian gendarmerie and police were expelled, and 
the local press was placed under a French censor. All 
this, without any preliminary notification to the Hellenic 
Government, which expressed its indignation that a 
French General, forgetting tlie most elementary rules of 
courtesy and hospitality, thought fit to choose such a 
moment for inaugurating a state of things that formed at 
once a gratuitous affront to the sovereign of the country 
and a breach of the terms of the Agreement of lo 
December.^ 

But this was only a prelude, followed on 6 June by a 
blockade of the Greek coasts, established in pursuance of 
orders from Paris and London — poiirpeser sur la Grece et lui 
montrer qu'elle etait d noire merci.^ Even this measure, 
however, did not seem to M. Briand sufficient. He 
advocated intervention of a nature calculated to disarm 
our enemies and to encourage our friends. His views did 
not meet with approval in London : Sir Edward Grey had 
" des scnipules honorahles," which M. Briand set himself 
to overcome by pen and tongue. The Entente Powers, 
he argued, were protectors of Greece — guarantors of her 
external independence and internal liberty. The Greek 
Government was bound to defend its territories with them 
against all invaders, and it had broken that obligation. 
Further, it had sinned by violating the Constitution. On 
both counts the Entente Powers had not only the right 
but the duty to intervene. Thus only could they justify, 
in the eyes of the Greek people, the blockade by which 
the whole population suffered, and which it would other- 
wise not understand. There was no time to lose : the 
dignity of France demanded swift and drastic action : the 
Athenians had gone so far as to ridicule in a cinema the 

^ Journal Officiel, p. 72 ; Sarrail, pp. 105-8, 112, 355-7 ; White 
Book, Nos. 142, 145. 
* Sarrail, p. 113. 



102 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

uniform of the lieroes of Verdun. If England would not 
join her, she must act alone. ^ 

These arguments — particulai'ly, one may surmise, the 
last — overcame Sir Edward Gre^^'s honourable scruples ; 
and on i6 June a squadron was ordered to be ready to 
bombard Athens, while a brigade was embarked at Salonica 
for the same destination. Before the guns opened fire, 
hj'droplanes would drop bombs on the royal palace ; then 
the troops would land, occupy the town, and proceed to 
arrest, among others, the royal family. Such were the 
plans elaborated under the direction of the French Minister 
at Athens, much to the joy of General Sarrail, who had 
said and wTitten again and again that " nothing could be 
done unless the King was put down."'* 

All arrangements for this " demonstration " completed, 
on 21 June the Entente Powers, " ever animated by the 
most benevolent and amicable spirit towards Greece " — 
it is wonderful to what acts these words often form the 
accompaniment — had the honour to deliver to her Govern- 
ment a Note by w^hich they demanded : 

1. The immediate and total demobihzation of the Army. 

2. The immediate replacement of the present Cabinet 
b}' a business Ministry. 

3. The immediate dissolution of the Chamber and fresh 
elections. 

4. The discharge of police officers obnoxious to them. 
They admitted neither discussion nor delay, but left to 

the Hellenic Government the entire responsibility for the 
events that would ensue if their just demands were not 
complied with at once. 

As M. Briand had anticipated, the sight of our warships' 
smoke quickened the Greek Government's sense of justice. 
King Constantine promptly complied, the " demonstra- 
tion," to the intense disappointment of M. Guillemin and 
General Sarrail, w-as adjourned, and a Ministry of a non- 
political character, under the leadership of M. Zaimis, was 
appointed to carry on the administration of the country 
until the election of a new Chamber.^ 

The event marked a new phase in the relations between 

^ Journal Officiel, pp. 72-3. 

2 Sarrail, pp. 115-24 ; Du Fournet, pp. 91-3. 

3 Journal Officiel, p. 99 ; Sarrail, pp. 125-7 ; Du Fournet, p. 93. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 103 

Greece and the Entente Powers. Henceforth they appear 
not as trespassers on neutral territory, but as protectors 
installed there, according to M. Briand, by right — a right 
derived from treaties and confirmed by precedents.^ 
Concerning the treaties all comment must be postponed 
till the question comes up in a final form. But as to the 
precedents, it may be observed that the most pertinent 
and helpful of all was one which M. Briand did not cite. 

At the time of the Crimean War, Greece, under King 
Otho, wanted to fight Turkey, and realize some of her 
national aspirations v/ith the assistance of Russia. But 
France and England, who were in alliance with Turkey 
against Russia, would not allow such a thing. Their 
Ministers at Athens told King Otho that strict neutrality 
was the only policy consonant with the honour and the 
interest of Greece : while hostilities lasted her commerce, 
as a neutral nation, would flourish, and by earning their 
goodwill she could, at the conclusion of peace, hope not 
to be forgotten in the re-making of the map of Eastern 
Europe. For refusing to listen to these admonitions King 
Otho was denounced as a pro-Russian autocrat, and the 
Allies landed troops at the Pirsus to compel obedience to 
their will. 

Once more a Greek sovereign had drawn down upon 
himself the wrath of the Protecting Powers, with the 
traditional charges of hostile tendencies in his foreign and 
autocratic tendencies in his domestic conduct, for daring 
to adopt an independent Greek policy. 

This time the three Powers were united in a common 
cause, which necessitated unity of action on all fronts. 
But it would be an error to imagine that this unity of 
action rested everywhere upon a community of views or 
of ulterior aims. Certainly such was not the case in 
Greece. France had her own views and aims in that part 
of the world. M. Briand was bent on bringing Greece into 
the War, not because he thought her help could exercise 
a decisive influence over its course, but because he wanted 
her to share in the spoils under French auspices : he 
considered it France's interest to have in the Eastern 
Mediterranean a strong Greece closely tied to her. ^ 

^ Journal Officiel, pp. 72, 73. 

- Roinanos to Zaimis, Paris, 26 Aug./8 Sept., 1916. 



104 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

That programme France intended to carrj- through at 
all costs and b}' all means. England and Russia, for the 
sake of the paramount object of the War, acquiesced and 
co-operated. But the acquiescence was compulsory and 
the co-operation reluctant. The underlying disaccord 
between the three Allies reflected itself in the demeanour 
of their representatives at Athens. 

M. Guiliemin, the French Minister, stood before the 
Greek Government A'iolentl}^ beUigerent. Brute force, 
accentuated rather than concealed by a certain irritating 
finesse, seemed to be his one idea of diplomac}', and he 
missed no conceivable opportunity for gi\ ing it expression : 
so much so that after a time the King found it hnpossible 
to receive him. Sir Francis Elliot, the British Minister, 
formed a pleasing contrast to his French colleague : a 
scrupulous and courteous gentleman, he did not disguise 
his repugnance to a policy in\'oh-ing at e\'ery step a fresh 
infringement of a neutral nation's rights. As it was, he 
endeavoured to moderate proceedings which he could 
neither approve nor pre\'ent. Prince Demidoff, a Russian 
diplomat of amiable manners, seconded Sir Francis Elliot's 
counsels of moderation and yielded to M. Guillemin's 
clamours for coercion.^ 

It is important to bear this disaccord in mind in order 
to understand what went before and what comes hereafter : 
for, though for the most part latent, it was alwa3^s present ; 
and if it did not avert, it retarded the climax. 
^ See Du Fournet, pp. iio-ii. 



CHAPTER X 

IN their Note of 21 June the AlUes assured the Greek 
people that they acted for its sake as much as for 
their own. One half of the preamble was taken up 
by their grievances against the Skouloudis Government — 
its toleration of foreign propagandists and its connivance 
at the entry of enemies, which formed a fresh menace for 
their armies. The other half was devoted to the violation 
of the Constitution by the dissolution of two Chambers 
within less than a year and the subjection of the country 
to a regime of tjaann}'. Their aim, they said, was to 
safeguard the Greek people in the enjoyment of its rights 
and liberties.^ 

These generous sentiments left the Greek people strangely 
cold. Indeed, the absence of any manifestations of 
popular joy at the Allies' success was as striking as had 
been the manifestations of resentment at the means 
employed. The only persons who did applaud the action 
were the persons whose party interests it served. The 
Venizelist Press hailed the triumph of violence as a victory 
for legahty. M. Venizelos addressed to M. Briand his 
felicitations, and gave pubhc utterance to his gratitude 
as follows : " The Note solved a situation from which there 
was no other issue. The just severity of its tone, the 
sincerity of its motives, its expressly drawn distinction 
between the Greek people and the ex-Government, give it 
more than anything else a paternal character towards the 
people of this country. The Protecting Powers ha\'e 
acted onl}' like parents reclaiming a son's birthright."- 

Pared down to realities, the aim of the Protecting Powers 
was to bring their protege to power and Greece into the 
War. The demobilization of the army, which stood first 
on their list, was the first step to that end. M. Venizelos 

^ Journal Officiel, p. gg. 

* The Daily Mail, 24 June, 1916. 



106 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

had l)ccn asserting that the people were still with him, 
aiid, given a chance, would upliold his polic}-, but that 
chance was denied them by the mobilization. With a 
pardonable ignorance of the people's feelings, and also, 
it must be owned, with a too naive confidence in the 
accuracy of the People s Chosen, the Allies had decided 
to act on this assumption : an assumption on which 
M. Venizelos himself was most reluctant to act. 

We have it on his own evidence that he looked for a 
solution of his difficulties, not to an election, but to a 
revolution. Further, he has told us that, eager as he 
might be for a revolutionary stroke, he could not lose 
sight of the obstacles. To those who held up French 
revolutions as a model, he pointed out that the analog}' 
was fallacious : in France " long 3'ears of t3'ranny had 
exasperated the people to its very depths. In Greece the 
people had a king who, only two years earlier, had headed 
his armies in two victorious campaigns."^ So he scouted 
the idea of intervention at Athens, convinced that an}'- 
attack on the Crown would spell destruction to himself. ^ 
His project was to steal to Salonica and there, under 
General Sarrail's shield, to start a separatist movement 
" directed against the Bulgars, but not against the king," 
apparently hoping that the Greek troops in Macedonia, 
among whom his apostles had been busy, fired by anti- 
Bulgar hate, would join him and drag king and country 
after them. This project had been communicated b}- the 
French Minister at Athens to General Sanail on 31 May :^ 
but, as the British Government was not \-et sufficiently 
advanced to countenance sedition,* M. Venizelos and his 
French confederate saw^ reason to abandon it for the 
present. 

Thus all concerned were committed to a test of the real 
desires of the Greek people by a General Election, which 
they declared themselves an.xious to bring off without 
delay — early in August. This time there would be no 
ambiguity about the issue : although the AlHes in their 
Note, as w^as proper and politic, had again disclaimed any 

^ The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7. 

' Du Fournet, p. 91. 

3 Sarrail, pp. 107, 354-5. 

* " L'Angleterte avait mis son veto." — Sarrail, p. 153. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES lOT 

wish or intention to make Greece depart from her neutrahty, 
M. Venizelos proclaimed that he still adhered to his belHcose 
programme, and that he was more confident of victory 
than ever^ : had not the Reservists been set free to vote, 
and were not those ardent warriors his enthusiastic sup- 
porters ? With this cry — perhaps in this belief — he 
entered the arena. 

It was a lively contest — rhetoric and corruption on both 
sides reinforced by terrorism, to which the AUies' military 
authorities in Macedonia, and their Secret Service at 
Athens, whose efficiency had been greatly increased by 
the dismissal of many pohcemen obnoxious to them, and 
by other changes brought about through the Note of 
21 June, contributed of their best. 

But even veteran politicians are liable to error. The 
Reservists left their billets in Macedonia burning with 
anger and shame at the indignities and hardships which 
they had endured. The Allies might have had among 
those men as many friends as they pleased, and could 
have no enemies unless they created them by treating 
them as such. And this is just what they did : from first 
to last, the spirit displayed by General Sarrail towards the 
Greek army was a spirit of insulting distrust and utterly 
unscrupulous callousness. 

Unable to revenge themselves on the foreign trespasser, 
the Reservists vowed to wreak their vengeance on his 
native abettor. They travelled back to their villages 
shouting : " A black vote for Venizelos I " and immediately 
formed leagues in the constituencies with a view to com- 
bating his candidates. The latter did all they could to 
exploit the national hate for the Bulgars and the alarm 
caused by their invasion. But fresh animosities had 
blunted the edge of old feelings : besides, had not the 
Bulgarian invasion been provoked by the Allies' occupation, 
and who was responsible for that occupation ? For the 
rest, the question, as it presented itself to the masses, was 
no longer simply one of neutrality or war. Despite M. 
Venizelos's efforts, and thanks to the efforts of his adver- 
saries, his breach with the King had become public, and 

1 See his statement to the Correspondent of tbe Paris Journal, 
in the Hesperia, of Loudon, 7 July, 1916. 



lOS GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the division of the nation had now attained to tiie dimen- 
sions of a schism — Royahsts against VenizeHsts, Nor 
could there be any doubt as to the relative strength of the 
rival camps. 

Thus, by a sort of irony, the action which was designed 
to clothe Venizelos with new power threatened to strip 
him of the last rags of prestige that still clung to his 
name. Therefore, the elections originally fixed for early 
in August were postponed by the Entente to September. 

Such was the internal situation, when external events 
brought the struggle to a head. 

With the accession of 120,000 Serbs, 23,000 Itahans, 
and a Russian brigade, the Allied army in Macedonia had 
reached a total of about 350,000 men, of whom, owing to 
the summer heats and the Vardar marshes, some 210,000 
were down with malaria.^ Nevertheless, under pressure 
from home and against his own better judgment,- General 
Sarrail began an offensive (10 August). As might have 
been foreseen, this display of energy afforded the Bulgars 
an excuse, and the demobilization of the Greek forces an 
opportunit)^ for a fresh invasion. M. Zaimis, in view of 
the contingency, imparted to General Sarrail his Govern- 
ment's intention to disarm the forts in Eastern Macedonia, 
so that he might forestall the Bulgars by occupying them. 
But again, as in May, the Frenchman treated the friendly 
hint with scornful suspicion.^ There followed a formal 
notice from the German and Bulgarian Ministers at Athens 
to the Premier, stating that their troops were compelled, 
by military exigencies, to push further into Greek territory, 
and repeating the assurances given to his predecessor on 
the occupation of Fort Rupel.^ 

The operation was conducted in a manner which belied 
these assurances. Colonel Hatzopoulos, acting Command- 
ant of the Fourth Army Corps, reported from his head- 
quarters at Cavalla that the Bulgarian troops were 
accompanied by irregular bands which indulged in murder 

* Du Fournet, p. 99. 

2 Caclamanos, Paris, 1/14 June, 1916. 

^ M. Zaimis's deposition on oath at the judicial investigation 
instituted by the Venizelos Government in 1919. Cp. Sarrail, 
p. 152. 

•* White Book, Nos. 158-60. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 109 

and pillage ; that the inhabitants of the Serres and Drama 
districts were fleeing panic-stricken ; and that the object 
of the invaders clearly was, after isolating the various 
Greek divisions, to occupy the whole of Eastern Macedonia. 
He begged for permission to call up the disbanded reservists, 
and for the immediate dispatch of the Greek Fleet. But 
the Athens Government vetoed all resistance, and the 
invasion went on unopposed.^ B3' 24 August the Bulgars 
were on the outskirts of Cavalla. 

Truth to tell, the real authors of the invasion were the 
Allies and M. Venizelos, who, by forcing Greece to disarm 
before the assembled enemy, practically invited him. 
But it was not to be expected that they should see things 
in this light. They, as usual, saw in them a new " felony " 
— yet another proof of King Constantine's desire to assist 
the Kaiser and defeat M. Venizelos- — and acted accordingly. 

M. Venizelos opened the proceedings with a meeting 
outside his house on Sunday, 2-] August, when he delivered 
from his balcony a direct apostrophe to the King — an 
oration which may have lost some of its dramatic effect 
by being read out of a carefully prepared manuscript, but 
which on that account possesses greater documentary 
value : 

" Thou, King, hast become the victim of conscience- 
less counsellors who have tried to destroy the work accom- 
phshed by the Revolution of 1909, to bring back the 
previous maladministration, and to satisfy their passionate 
hate for the People's Chosen Leader. Thou art the 
victim of military advisers of limited perceptions and of 
oligarchic principles. Thou hast become the victim of 
thy admiration for Germany, in whose victory thou hast 
beheved, hoping through that victory to elbow aside our 

^ White Book, Nos. 161-5. 

" " The King, having no illusions as to the result of an election," 
says M. Venizelos, in the New Europe, 29 March, 191 7, " organized, 
in connivance with the Germans and Bulgarians, the invasion of 
Western and Eastern Macedonia. As the Liberals thus lost about 
sixty seats, the King might hope ... to secure at least some sem- 
blance of success at the coming elections." On the first opportunity 
that the people of Macedonia, Eastern and Western alike, had of 
expressing their opinion — at the elections of 14 Nov., 1920 — they 
did not return a single Venizehst. — See Reuter, Athen3, 15 Nov., 
1920. 



110 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

free Constitution and to centre in thy lumds the whole 
authority of the State." After enumerating the disastrous 
results of these errors — " instead of expansion in Asia 
Minor, Thrace, and Cyprus, a Bulgarian invasion in 
Macedonia and the loss of valuable war material" — the 
orator referred to the elections and warned the King that 
persistence in his present attitude would involve danger 
to the throne : " The use of the august name of Your 
Majesty in the contest against the Liberal Party introduces 
the danger of an internal revolution." The discourse 
ended with another scarcely veiled menace to the King : 
"If we are not listened to, then we shall take counsel as 
to what must be done to rescue all that can be rescued 
out of the catastrophe which has overtaken us."^ 

It was not an empty threat. The Chief spoke on 
Sunday, and on Wednesday his followers at Salonica rose 
up in revolt and, supported by General Sarrail, took 
possession of the public offtces, set up a revolutionary 
committee under a Cretan, and launched a war proclama- 
tion for Macedonia on the side of the Entente. The 
Royalist troops, after some fighting, were besieged in their 
barracks, starved into surrender, and finally shipped off 
to the Piraeus, while many civil and ecclesiastical personages 
were thrown into prison. The French General received 
notice that M. Venizelos himself would arrive on 9 Sep- 
tember to take command of the movement.* 

Concurrently with this first product of the plot hatched 
between M. Venizelos and M. Guillemin in May, was 
carried on the more orthodox mode of action inaugurated 
by the Allied Governments in June. At the news of the 
Bulgarian invasion, the French Minister at Athens felt or 
feigned unbounded fear — tout etait d redonbtcr : even a 
raid by Uhlans to the very gates of the capital — and 
asked Paris for a squadron to be placed at his disposal. 
Paris did what it could. On 26 August Admiral Dartige 
du Fournet was ordered to form a special squadron and 
proceed against Athens according to the plans drawn up 

1 For the Greek original, see the He-speria, 1 Sept., igi6. A 
much longer text, apparently elaborated at leisure, with a colourless 
Enghsh translation, was published by the Anglo-Hellenic League. 

2 S.arrail, pp. 152-4 ; Official statement by the Revolutionary 
Committee, Renter, Salonica, 31 Aug., 1916. 



GREECE AND TlIE .\LLIES 111 

in June. He immediately left Malta at the head of thirty- 
four ships, and on the 28th arrived at Milo, where he 
found a British contingent of thirty-nine ships awaiting 
him. The joint armada thus formed was believed to be 
strong enough to preclude all danger of resistance. For 
all that, every precaution was taken to secure to it the 
advantage of a surprise, though in vain : its size and the 
proximity of its objective rendered secrecy impossible. 

Four days were wasted in idleness — a delay due to 
England's scruples. But at last all was ready ; and on 
the morning of i September the AlHed Fleet stood out 
to sea : seventy-three units of every description, the big 
ships in single file, flanked by torpedo-boats, steaming 
bravely at the rate of fifteen knots, and leaving behind 
them a track of white-crested waves that stretched to the 
very edge of the horizon : le coitp d'ceil est iynpressionant . 

All arrangements for battle had been made, and each 
contingent had its special role assigned to it : only the 
Intelligence Services, being otherwise occupied, had faikd 
to furnish any information about Greek mines and sub- 
marines. It was therefore necessary to be more than 
ever careful. But the six hours' voyage was accomplished 
safely, and not until the armada cast anchor at the mouth 
of the Salamis Strait did it meet with a tangible token of 
hostility. The Greek Admiral commanding the Royal 
Fleet before the arsenal of Salamis — a force composed of 
two ironclads, one armoured cruiser, eighteen torpedo-boats 
and two submarines — failed to bid the Alhes welcome : a 
breach of international rules which was duly resented and 
remedied. 

The expedition had for its objects : (i) To seize a dozen 
enemy merchantmen which had taken refuge since the 
beginning of the War in the harbours of Eleusis and the 
Pirfeus ; (2) to obtain the control of Greek posts and 
telegraphs ; (3) to procure the expulsion of enemy propa- 
gandists, and the prosecution of such Greek subjects as 
had rendered themselves guilty of compUcity in corruption 
and espionage on the wrong side. 

Of the first operation, which was conducted to a success- 
ful issue that same evening " with remarkable activity " 
by one of Admiral Dartige's subordinates, no justification 
was attempted : we needed tonnage and took it. The 



112 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

pretext for the second was that the Allies had heard 
" from a sure source " that their enemies were furnished 
by the Hellenic Government with miUtary information. 
So serious a charge, if made in good faith, should have 
been supported by the clearest proofs. Yet even Admiral 
Dartige, whose disagreeable duty it was to prefer it, 
bitterly complained that " he never received from Paris a 
single proof which could enlighten him." On the other 
hand, he did receive abundant enlightenment about the 
"sure source" : the Russian Minister needed to send a 
cipher message to the American Embassy at Constantinople 
which was entrusted with Russian interests, and, the 
Hellenic Government readily agreeing to transmit it 
through its Legation at Pera, Prince Demidoff, with the 
consent of his Entente colleagues, proceeded to make use 
of the Athens wireless for that purpose. Witliin forty- 
eight hours the Admiral received from Paris an excited 
telegram asking him what measures he had taken to 
prevent the Hellenic Government from " violating its 
engagements." The rebuke, explains the Admiral, was 
the result of a sensational report from the head of the 
French Secret Intelhgence at Athens, denouncing the 
above transaction as an example of " the bad faith of the 
Greeks." On this pretext all the means by which the 
Hellenic Government could communicate with its repre- 
sentatives abroad and reply to the attacks of its enemies 
passed under the Alhes' control. 

Somewhat less neat were the methods adopted to secure 
the third object of the expedition. The Secret Services 
had compiled a voluminous register of undesirable persons 
out of which the}^ drew up a select list of candidates for 
expulsion and prosecution. Unfortunately, despite their 
industry, it teemed with embarrassing errors : individuals 
put down as Germans turned out to be Greeks ; and the 
suspects of Greek nationahty included high personages, 
such as M. Streit, ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs, General 
Dousmanis and Colonel Metaxas, ex-Chiefs of the General 
Staff, and so on. At last an expurgated list was approved 
and carried out summarily. ^ Some of the criminals 
escaped punishment by transferring their services from the 
German to the French and British propagandas ; for, 
^ Du Fournet, pp. 99-104, 122-4, 127, 129. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 118 

while to intrigue with the former was to commit a crime, 
to intrigue with the latter was to perform a meritorious 
deed. 

There the Alhes and M. Venizelos stopped for the moment, 
hoping that Rumania's entry into the War, which had 
just taken place, would induce Greece to do likewise. 



CHAPTER XI 

RUMANIA'S policy had always been regarded by 
the Greeks as of capital importance for their own ; 
and as soon as she took the field, King Constantine, 
though suffering from a recrudescence of the malady that 
had nearly killed him in the previous year, set to work to 
consider whether her adhesion did not make such a differ- 
ence in the military situation as to enable him to abandon 
neutrality. Two or three days before the arrival of the 
Allied Fleet he had initiated conversations in that sense 
with the Allied Ministers.^ 

Simultaneously the question of a waj- Government came 
up for discussion ; the actual Cabinet being, by order of 
the Allies, a mere business Ministry charged only to carry 
on the administration until the election of a new Parliament. 

Two alternatives were suggested. The first, which found 
warm favour in Entente circles, was that M. Zaimis should 
lay down the cares of of&ce and make place for M. Venizelos. 
Constantine was advised to " bend his stubborn will to 
the inevitable and remain King of the Hellenes " — that is, 
to become an ornamental captain — by abandoning the 
ship of State to the management of the wise Cretan. " It 
is now possible," the homily ran, " that the precipitation 
of events will prevent the return of M. Venizelos by the 
voice of the electorate." But that did not signify: 
" M. Venizelos can count on the backing of nine-tenths 
of the nation, given a semblance of Royal support."* In 
less trenchant language, the British Minister at Athens 
expounded the same thesis. 

But Constantine showed httle incHnation to perform 
this noble act of self-effacement. On no account would 

1 See Constantine I and the Greek People. By Paxton Hibben, 
an American journalist who took part in these diplomatic transac- 
tions, pp. 281-90. 

2 See Crawfurd Price, Athens, i Sept., in the Pall Mall Gazette. 
15 Sept., 1916. 

114 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 115 

he have a dictator imposed upon him to shape the fortunes 
of Greece according to his caprice, unfettered by " military- 
advisers of hmited perceptions." If Greece was to have 
a dictator, the King had said long ago, he would rather be 
that dictator ; though he had no objection to a Cabinet 
with a Venizelist admixture. In fact, he insisted on 
M. Venizelos accepting a share in the responsibility of war, 
either by himself sitting in the Cabinet or by permitting 
three of his friends to represent him in it. " It will not 
do," he said frankly, " to have his crowd standing out, 
trying to break up the army and making things difficult 
by criticizing the Government."^ 

The other alternative was that M. Zaimis should be 
invested with political functions ; but for this the consent 
of the Alhes and of their proteg^ was needed. The latter, 
in his oration of 27 August, had magnanimously declared 
himself willing, provided his policy were adopted, to leave 
the execution of it in the hands of M. Zaimis, whose 
honesty and sincerity remained above all suspicion : 
" the Liberal Party," he had said, " are prepared to back 
this Cabinet of Affairs with their pohtical authority." 
On being asked by M. Zaimis to explain precisely what he 
meant, M. Venizelos broached the subject of elections. 
As already seen, he and the Allies had reason to regret 
and to elude the test which they had exacted. It was, 
therefore, not surprising that M. Venizelos should stipulate, 
with the concurrence of the Entente Ministers, that the 
elections now imminent be postponed to the Greek 
Kalends.^ By accepting this condition, M. Zaimis ob- 
tained a promise of support ; and straightway (2 Sept.) 
proceeded to sound London and Paris. 

Before making any formal proposal, he wanted to 
know if the Western Powers would at least afford Greece 
the money and equipment which she required in order to 
prepare wdth a view to eventual action. England wel- 
comed these overtures, convinced that thus all misunder- 
standings between Greece and the AlHes would vanish ; 

^ Paxton Hibben, p. 2S9. 

^ " La question de la dissolution de la Chambre fut icartie. . . . 
De plus tout faisait supposer que de nouvelles Elections ne seraient pas 
favorables au parti venizSliste, dont la cause itait si intimement Hie 
d, la nCtre." — Du Fournet, pp. 121-2 ; Paxton Hibben, pp. 278-9, 
306-7. 



11(3 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

but, before giving a definite reply, she had to communicate 
with France. France manifested the greatest satisfaction ; 
but M. Briand urged tliat there was no time for negotia- 
tions : the vital interests of Greece demanded immediate 
action : she should hasten to make a formal declaration 
without delay ; after which he would do all that was 
necessary to pro\dde her, as soon as possible, with money 
and material. M. Zaimis in his very first dispatch had 
said : " Unfortunately the state of our finances and of 
our militar}^ organization does not permit us to think of 
immediate action : we need a certain delay for prepara- 
tion " ; and all the exhortations of M. Briand to leap 
first and look afterwards failed to move him. Besides 
the matter of equipment — a matter in which the Entente 
Powers, owing to their own necessities, had been the 
reverse of liberal to their small alhes, as Belgium and 
Servaa had aheady found, and Rumania was about to 
find to her cost — there was another point Greek statesmen 
and strategists had to weigh very carefully before com- 
mitting themselves : would Rumania co-ordinate her 
military action with theirs ? Unless she were inclined and 
able to divert enough forces from the Austro-Hungarian 
to the Bulgarian frontier, her entry into the War could 
not be of any help to them. So, after nine days' corre- 
spondence, we find M. Zaimis still wTiting : "When the 
English answer arrives, the Roj^al Government will take 
account of it in the examination in which it will engage 
before taking a definite decision — a decision which "wdll be 
subordinated to its military preparations and to the 
course of war operations in the East."^ 

Directly afterwards (ii Sept.) M. Zaimis resigned " for 
reasons of health." These reasons convinced no one : 
everyone agreed in ascribing his withdrawal to his discovery 
that he was the victim of duplicity ; but as to whose 
duphcity, opinions differed. According to M. Venizelos, 
while the conversations about entering the War went on, 
King Constantine, in consequence of a telegram from the 

^ Zaimis to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 20 Aug./2 
Sept.; Rome, Bucharest, Petrograd, 29 Aug./ii Sept. Romanes, 
Paris, 20 Aug./2 Sept., 22 Aug./4 Sept., 25 Aug./y Sept., 
26 Aug./8 Sept. Gennadius, London, 22 Aug./4 Sept., 25 Aug./7 
Sept., 1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 117 

Kaiser assuring him that within a month the Germans 
would have overrun Rumania and flung Sarrail's army 
into the sea, and asking him to hold out, reverted to the 
policy of neutrahty ; and M. Zaimis, realizing that he was 
being fooled, refused to play the King's game and resigned. ^ 
For this statement we have M. Venizelos's authority ; 
and against it that of M. Zaimis, who, on hearing from 
Paris that his resignation gave rise to the supposition that 
the old policy had prevailed, replied : " My impression 
is that the Cabinet which will succeed me will not quit 
the hne of policy which I have pursued."^ 

Another account connected the fall of the Cabinet with 
an incident which occurred at that critical moment and 
strained the situation to the utmost. In the evening of 
9 September, as the Entente Ministers held a conference 
in the French Legation, a score of scallywags rushed into 
the courtyard, shouting " Long live the King ! Down with 
France and England I " fired a few revolver shots in the 
air, and bolted, Immediatel}^ M. Zaimis hastened to the 
Legation and expressed his regrets. But that did not 
suffice to placate the outraged honour of the French 
Repubhc. Despite the objections of his colleagues, 
M. Guillemin had a detachment of bluejackets landed to 
guard the Legation ; and next day a Note was presented 
to the Greek Premier demanding that the perpetrators 
of this grave breach of Liternational Law should be 
discovered and punished, and that all Reservists' leagues 
should instantly be broken up. It was even proposed 
that the King should be asked to issue a Proclamation 
disavowing and condemning the demonstration. Inquir}^ 
proved that the demonstration was the work of agents 
provocateurs in the pay of the French Secret Service which 
acted in the interest of M. Venizelos. 

Wliereupon, M. Zaimis, reahzing that the negotiations 
he was trying to conduct could not be sincere on the part 
of the French, begged to be relieved of his mandate. 
The King was loth to let him go. The British Minister 
was equally upset, and added his plea to that of the 
Sovereign. M. Zaimis said that, if M. Guillemin disavowed 

^ The New Europe, 29 March, 1917. 

* Romanos, Paris, 31 Aug./i3 Sept. ; Zaimis, Athens, 1/14 
Sept., 1916. 



118 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the intrigue and displayed a willingness to continue the 
negotiations in a spirit of candour, he would remain ; but 
M. Guillemin could not bring himself to go so far.^ 

Whatever may be the truth in this matter — for, owing 
to lack of documentary evidence, it is impossible fully to 
ascertain the truth — the whole position, for a man of 
M. Zaimis's character, was untenable : if sense of duty 
had prompted him to take up the burden, common-sense 
counselled him to lay it down. So he resigned ; and the 
fat was once more in the fire — and the blaze and the stench 
were greater than ever ; for his resignation synchronized 
with another untoward event. 

Colonel Hatzopoulos with his own and the Serres 
Division had for some time past been isolated at Cavalla 
— the Bulgars occupying the forts on one side, while the 
British blockaded the harbour on the other. Suddenly, 
upon a false report that King Constantine had fled to 
Larissa and Venizelos was master at Athens, the demeanour 
of the Bulgars, which had always been harsh, became 
thoroughly hostile. They strengthened their outposts, 
cut off the food supplies that came from Drama and Serres, 
and, on 6 September, demanded that the heights immedi- 
atety above the town still held by the Greeks should be 
abandoned to them, on the plea that otherwise they would be 
unable to defend themselves in case of an Entente landing : 
refusal would be considered an unfriendly act. As his 
orders forbade resistance. Colonel Hatzopoulos had no 
choice but to yield. Thus the Greeks were reduced to 
absolute helplessness ; and their isolation was completed 
on 9 September, when British sailors landed and destroyed 
the wireless station. 

The worst was yet to come. Next m.orning (lo Sept.) 
a German officer peremptorily notified Colonel Hatzopoulos 
on the part of Marshal von Hindenburg that, as the Greek 
troops scattered over Eastern Macedonia obstructed the 
operations of the Bulgarian arm\', the}- should all be 
concentrated at Drama. Colonel Hatzopoulos, perceiving 
that compliance meant captivity in the hands of the 
Bulgars, asked that as his instructions were that all the 
troops should concentrate at Cavalla, and as he could not 
act otherwise without orders from the King, he might be 

1 Paxton Hibben, pp. 313-19; Du Foumet, pp. 119-21, 129. 



GREECE AND THE AXLIES 119 

allowed to send a messenger to Athena via Monastir. 
This being refused on the ground that the journey would 
take too long, he pleaded his inability to decide about so 
grave a matter on his own initiative, but must call a 
council of the principal officers. Meanwhile, in order to 
avoid capture by the Bulgars, he asked if, should they 
decide to surrender, Hindenburg would guarantee their 
transportation to Germany with their ai"ms. The German 
promised to communicate with headquarters and to let 
him know the answer on the following morning. 

Evidently the invaders, who would formerly ha\'e been 
more than content with the withdrawal of the Greek 
forces, were now — in violation of the pledges given to 
Athens by the German and Bulgarian Governments — 
resolved on making such withdi'awal impossible. It is 
not hard to account for this change. The pledges were 
given in the belief that Greece would continue neutral. 
This behef had been shaken not only by the Venizehst 
movement, but more severely still by M. Zaimis's soundings 
of the Entente Powers. The Greek Premier had from the 
first insisted on secrecy, stating among the main reasons 
which rendered absolute discretion imperative, " the 
presence in part of our territory of the eventual adversaiy," 
and " the need to extricate two divisions and a large 
quantit}/ of material" from their grip.^ Nevertheless, 
the Entente Press gloried in the hope that the Allies would 
soon have the only non-behigerent Balkan State fighting 
on their side, and the principal Entente news agency 
trumpeted abroad M. Zaimis's confidential conversations. * 
Hence the desire of the Germano-Bulgars to prevent the 
escape of men and material that might at any moment 
be used against them. 

On the other hand, the Greek officers' council decided 

1 Zaimis to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 20 Aug./2 Sept., 
1916. All his dispatches are marked " strictly confidential and to 
be deciphered by the Minister himself." The replies are to be 
addressed to him personally, and for greater security, must be 
prefaced by some meaningless groups of figures. 

2 See messages from the Athens Correspondents of The Times and 
the Daily Chronicle, 3 Sept. ; Reuter, Athens, 9 Sept., 1916. In 
view of the strict censorship exercised during the war and in view 
of the Franco-Venizelist anxiet}' to rush Greece into a rupture 
these indiscretions can hardly be considered accidental. 



120 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to tr}' first every means of escape, and only if that proved 
impossible to comply with the German demand on condition 
that they should be taken to Germany and not be left in 
the hands of the Bulgars. Accordingl}^ Colonel Hatzo- 
poulos addi^essed a most earnest appeal to the British for 
vessels to get his men away to Volo or the Pir<eus, and, 
having received a promise to that effect, he secretly 
arranged for flight. In the night of lo September all the 
men with their belongings gathered on the sea-front ready 
to leave. But they reckoned without the partisans of 
M. Venizelos in their midst. One of them, the Comman- 
dant of the Serres Division, a month ago had informed 
General Sarrail that he would fight on the side of the 
Allies,^ and another on 5 September, in a nocturnal meeting 
on board a British man-of-war, had proposed to kidnap 
Colonel Hatzopoulos, arm volunteers, and attack the 
Bulgars with the aid of Alhed detachments landed at 
Cavalla. His proposal having been rejected, it was agreed 
that all " patriotic " elements should be transported to 
Salonica. In pursuance of this agreement, only those 
were allowed to embai'k who were willing to rebel. Those 
who refused to break their oath of allegiance to their King 
were turned adrift. Some tried to gain the island of Thasos, 
but their boats were carried to the open sea and capsized, 
drowning many, the rest got back to the shore in despair. 
As a last hope of escape. Colonel Hatzopoulos begged 
the British na^-al authorities, who controlled all means of 
communication between Cavalla and Athens, to transmit 
to his Government a message asking if he might surrender 
to the British and be interned in the isle of Thasos. The 
message was duly transmitted through the British Legation 
on II September, and in reply the Greek Minister of War, 
after an understanding with the British authorities, ordered 
him through the same channel to embark at once with all 
his men and, if possible, material for Volo, on Greek ships 
by preference, but if such were not available, on any other 
ships. Whether these orders were never forwarded, or 
whether they reached their destination too late, is not 
quite clear. It is certain, however, that during the critical 
hours when the fate of the unhappy soldiers hung in the 
balance, the British Fleet did not permit embarkation 
1 Sarrail, p. 152. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 121 

except to the few who joined the Rebellion. ^ For the 
loyal majority there was nothing left but the way to Drama. 

Nor was any time allowed for vacillation. When, in 
the morning of ii September, Colonel Hatzopoulos met 
the German officer, the latter handed to him a telegram 
from Hindenburg, guaranteeing the transport of the 
Greeks to Germany with their arms, where they would be 
treated as guests. He added that the departure from 
Cavalla would not be enforced for the present. But in 
the afternoon he intimated that this was due to a mis- 
understanding, and that they should leave the same night. 
Their efforts to escape had obviously become known to 
the Germans, who, taking no chances, imposed immediate 
depaiture under threat to cancel Hindenburg's guarantee. 
Thus, the two Greek divisions were under compulsion hud- 
dled off to Drama, whence, joined by the division stationed 
there, they were taken to Germany and interned at Goerlitz. ^ 

Nothing that had hitherto happened served so well to 
blacken the rulers of Greece in the eyes of the Entente 
publics, and the mystery which enveloped the affair 
facilitated the propagation of fiction. It was asserted 
that the surrendered troops amounted to 25,000 — even 
to 40,000 : figures which were presently reduced to " some 
8,000 : three divisions, each composed of three regiments 
of 800 men each." The surrender was represented as made 
by order of the Athens Government : King Constantine, 
out of affection for Germany and Bulgaria, and hate of 

1 King Constantine has publicly taxed the Allies with not for- 
warding the orders (see The Times, 8 Nov., 1920). On the other 
hand, there is on record a statement by Vice-Consul Knox that the 
orders were forwarded from Athens and that he himself delivered 
them at Cavalla. Cp. Admiral Dartige du Fournet : " Au moment 
ou les Grecs virent les Bidgares en marche sur Cavalla, Us voulurent 
embarquer leiirs troupes et leur matiriel. L'aniiral anglais qui 
commandait en mer Egie leur refusa son concours, espirant sans 
doute les determiner a se difendre. Quand, se rendant un comple 
plus exact de la situation, il donna son assentiment a cette Svacuation. 
11 6tait trop tard : les Bulgares entraient A Cavalla le jour meme." 
— Du Fournet, p. 151. 

2 My chief sources of information concerning this event are a 
Report by Col. Hatzopoulos to Marshal von Hindenburg, dated 
" Goerlitz, 13/26 Oct., 1916," and another report drawn up at 
Athens in July, 192 1, from the records of the judicial investigation 
instituted by the Venizelos Government in 1919, including the 
evidence of the British Vice-Consul G. G. Knox. 



122 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

France and England, had given up, not onl}- rich territories 
he himself had conquered, but also the soldiers he had 
twice led to victorj'. 

In point of fact, as soon as the Athens Government 
heard of the catastrophe — and it did not hear of it until 
after the arrival of the In-st detachment in Germany — it 
addressed to Berhn a remonstrance, disavowing the step 
of Colonel Hatzopoulos as contrary to his orders, and 
denj'ing German3''s right to keep him as contrary to 
International Law : " for Greece being in peaceful and 
friendly relations with Germany, the Greek troops can 
neither be treated as prisoners of war nor be interned, 
internnient being only possible in a neutral countr5% and 
only with regard to belligerent troops — not vice versa." 
The dispatch ended with a request that " om' troops with 
their arms and baggage be transported to the Swiss frontier, 
whence they may go to some Mediterranean port and re- 
turn to Greece on ships which we shall send for the purpose." ^ 

Berlin answered that she " was ready to meet the desire 
of the Greek Government, but actual and effective guaran- 
tees would have to be given that the troops under German 
protection would not be prevented by the Entente Powers 
from returning to their fatherland, and would not be 
punished for their loyal and neutral feeling and action." ^ 
This because the Entente press was angrily denouncing 
the step as a " disgraceful desertion " and asking " with 
what ignominious penalty their War Lord has visited so 
signal and so heinous an act of mutiny, perjury, and 
treason on the part of his soldiers "' — the soldiers who 
went to German}^ precisely in order to avoid committing 
an act of mutin}/, perjury, and treason. Truly, in time 
of war words change their meaning. 

1 White Book, No. 173. 

* Telegram from Berlin reported by Reuter'a Amsterdam Corre- 
spondent, 23 Sept., 1916. I find this confirmed by a dispatch from 
the Greek Minister at Berlin (Theotckis, Berlin, 18/31 Oct., 
1916), in which he gives an account of his elforts to obtain from the 
German Government the return of the troops and restitution of 
the war material, as well as the Greek officers' protests to Hinden- 
burg and Ludendorff against the pressure under which they had 
been hurried from Cavalla. It is to be regretted that M. Venizelos 
did not find room for this document and for Col. Hatzopoulos's 
illuminating Report in his White Book. 

^ Leading article iu The Times, 19 Sept., 1916. 



CHAPTER XII 

MEANWHILE the unfortunate King of Greece 
was faced by a state of things which he himself 
describes with admirable lucidity in a dispatch 
to his brother Andrew, then in London, labouring, vainly 
enough, to obtain a fair hearing for the Royalist side, 
while another brother, Prince Nicholas, was engaged on a 
similar mission at Petrograd. The document is dated 
3/16 September, 1916, and runs thus : 

" The resignation of the Cabinet of M. Zaimis, who 
enjoyed my absolute confidence, as well as the unanimous 
confidence of the country, and whom the Entente Govern- 
ments declared to me that they surrounded with their 
entire sympathy, has rendered the situation very difficult. 

" I charged M. Dimitracopoulos to form a new Cabinet. 
He declared himself ready to continue the conversations 
opened recently by M. Zaimis in the hope of bringing them 
to a happy conclusion. Before accepting definitel}', he 
thought it necessary to sound the views of the Powers on 
important questions of an internal order, and went to 
the doyen of the Diplomatic Corps, the British Minister, 
whence he carried away a very clear impression that, not 
only the coercive measures would not be raised before 
mobilization, but that they might be intensified, notably 
by direct interference in personal domestic questions, and 
that, even after mobilization, the measures would be only 
relaxed. As to the question of elections, after having 
demanded by the Note of 8 (21) June the dissolution of 
the Chamber and new elections, which we accepted, now 
they demand that the elections shall not take place, 
without, at the same time, allowing the existing Chamber 
to meet. M. Dimitracopoulos has laid down his mandate. 

" Under these conditions the situation becomes inextri- 
cable. The military and naval authorities of the Entente 
foment and encourage in the country a revolution and 
jumed sedition, and they favour by every means the 

123 



124 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Salonica movement by continuing the vexatious measures 
and restricting all freedom of thought and action. The 
Entente Ministers paralyze all Government. Thus the 
country is pushed towards anarchy. 

" Such conduct not only conflicts with the assurances 
which they have given us, but excludes all practical 
possibility of reconsidering our policy freely to the end 
of taking a decision in a favourable direction. For the 
rest, Greece divided would not be of any use as an ally. 
It is necessary that there should return in the country 
comparative calm and the feeling of independence, indis- 
pensable for taking extreme resolutions. It is necessary 
that conlidence in the sympathy of the Entente should 
be restored. A resolution to participate in the war taken 
under present circumstances would run the risk of being 
attributed to violence and of being received with mistrust. 
More, that resolutions may be taken without danger of 
disaster, there is need of circumspection and discretion, so 
as not to provoke an attack from the Germano-Bulgars 
who are in our territory, before we are read}' to lend real 
assistance to the Entente. A more definite declaration 
of principle, which would have to be kept secret in the 
common interest, would be of no practical value. 

" Under certain circumstances, rendering the partici- 
pation of Greece useful and conformable to our interests, 
I have already declared that I am ready to enter into the 
war on the side of the Entente. I am ready to envisage 
negotiations in this sense. But, before all, I need, that 
I may be able to occup}' myself usefully and with a certain 
mental calmness with foreign questions, to see comparative 
quiet restored at home, and so to save the appearances of 
liberty of action. In this I ask, for the sake of the common 
interest, the Powers to give me their help. 

" I have charged M. Calogeropoulos to form a Ministry : 
he is equally animated by the best intentions towards the 
Entente." 

The new Premier, who had already held office with 
distinction as Minister of the Interior and as Minister of 
Finance, possessed every quahlication for the delicate task 
entrusted to him. On the day of his accession The Times 
Correspondent wrote of him : "In the Chamber he is 
highly esteemed. Although he is a Theotokist, and 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 125 

therefore anti-Venizelist, M. Calogeropoulos, who studied 
in France, declared to me that ah his personal sympathies 
are with the Entente. He is likewise a member of the 
Franco-Greek League."^ In harmony with this character 
was his programme : " The new Cabinet, inspired by the 
same policy as M. Zaimis, is resolved to pursue it with 
the sincere desire to tighten the bonds between Greece and 
the Entente Powers." This declaration, made in every 
Allied capital, was supplemented by a more intimate 
announcement in Paris and London : " Sharing the views 
which inspired the negotiations opened b}^ its predecessor, 
the Royal Government is resolved to pursue them in the 
same spirit."^ 

No sooner had M. Calogeropoulos spoken than M. 
Venizelos set to work to cast doubts on his sincerity, with 
remarkable success : " M. Venizelos does not believe that 
the composition of the new Ministry permits of the hope 
that a national pohcy will be adopted, since it springs 
from a party of pro-German traditions,"^ — this ominous 
paragraph was added by the Times Correspondent to 
his report the same day. And next day the British 
Minister, in an interview with the editor of a Venizelist 
journal, said : " The situation is certainly not an agreeable 
one. I have read in the papers the declaration of the 
new Premier. What has surprised me is to find that 
M. Calogeropoulos characterized his Ministry as a political 
one, whereas in their last Note the Allies required that 
Greece should be governed by a business Cabinet. This, 
as you see, makes a distinct difference."* Simultaneously, 
the Entente Press, under similar inspiration, reviled the 
new Cabinet as pro-German, clamoured for M. Venizelos, 
whom they still represented as the true exponent of the 
national will, threatened King Constantine with the fate 
of King Otho, and his country with " terrible and desperate 
things."^ 

^ The Times, i8 Sept., 1916. 

^ Carapanos to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 
3/16 Sept., igi6. 
^ The Times, loc. cit. 

* Exchange Tel., Athens, 17 Sept., 1916. Cp. Romanes, Paris, 
5/18 Sept. 

* See leading articles in The Times, 19 Sept., and the Morriing 
Post, 20 Sept., 1916. 



126 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

It was in such an atmosphere that M. Calogeropoulos and 
his colleagues attempted to resume the conversations 
which M. Zaimis had opened. Thej^ reaHzed that, since 
elections and like legal methods no longer commended 
themselves to the Allies, since they menaced the country 
\\ith " terrible and desperate things," Greece might drift 
into chaos at any moment. They were anxious to avoid 
chaos. But how ? A bhnd acceptance of the VenizeUst 
poUcy of an immediate rush into the War, without regard 
to ways and means, might prove tantamount to burning 
one's blanket in order to get rid of the fleas : while saving 
Greece from the coercion of the French and the British, 
it might expose her to subjugation by the Gemians and 
the Bulgars : the plight of Rumania afforded a fresh 
warning. They therefore adopted the only course open 
to sane men. 

On 19 September Greece formally offered to the Entente 
Powers " to come in as soon as by their help she had 
accomplished the repair of her military forces, within a 
period fixed by common accord." But, " as her armed 
intervention could not, ob\aously, be in the interest of 
anyone concerned, unless it took place w^ith chances of 
success, the Royal Government thinks that Greece should 
not be held to her engagement, if at the time fixed the 
Balkan theatre of war presented, in the opinion of the 
Allies' General Staffs themselves, such a disequihbrium 
of forces as the military weight of Greece would be insuffi- 
cient to redress. "1 

Russia received these advances with cordiality, her 
Premier declaring to the Greek Minister at Petrograd that 
she would be happy to have Greece for an ally, and that 
the Tsar had full confidence in the sentiments of King 
Constantine. He added that he would immediately 
communicate \\dth Paris and London. ^ There was the 
rub. French and British statesmen affected to regard 
the offer as a ruse for gaining time : they could not trust 
a Cabinet three members of which they considered to be 
ill-disposed towards the Entente: a "national pohcy " 

^ Carapanos to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 6/19 Sept., 
1916. 
- Panas, Potrograd, 14/27 Sept., - '6. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 127 

should be carried out by a " national Cabinet " — that if, 
by M. Venizelos.^ 

While frustrating liis country's efforts to find a way out 
of the pass into which he had intrigued it, the Cretan and 
his partisans did not neglect other forms of activity. We 
have seen that rebellion had already broken out at Salonica. 
In Athens itself the walls were pasted with Venizehst 
newspapers in the form of placards displaying headlines 
such as these : " A LAST APPEAL TO THE KING ! " 
" DRAW THE SWORD, KING, OR ABDICATE ! " 
It was no secret that arms and ammunition were stored 
in private houses, that the French Intelhgence Service 
had a depot of explosives in a ship moored at the Piraeus, 
and a magazine of rifles and grenades in its headquarters 
at the French School of Athens.^ The Royalist journals 
threatened the Venizelists with condign punishment for 
their treasonable designs. The Venizehst journals, far 
from denying the charge, rephed that they would be fully 
justified in arming themselves against the hostile Reservist 
Leagues. In short, the capital swarmed with conspirators, 
but the guardians of public order were powerless, owing 
to the proximity of the Allied naval guns, ready to enforce 
respect for the Allied flags under whose protection the 
conspiracy was carried on. By this time the French and 
British detectives had usurped the powers and inverted 
the functions of the police organs ;^ and the French and 

^ Roraanos, Paris, 10/23 Sept. Cp. Reuter statement, London, 
26 Sept., 1916. This view is crystallized in a personal dispatch 
from the Greek Minister at Paris to the Director of Political Affairs, 
at Athens : " L'appel an pouvoir par S.M. le Roi de M. Venizilos 
parait au Gouvernement frangais le seul moyen de dissiper la mSfiance 
que r attitude des conseillers de S.M . le Roi ontfait naitre dans I'esprit 
des cercles divigeants d. Paris et d. Londres. . . . L'opinion publique 
en France n' approuverait une alliance avec la Grice et les avantages 
qui en decouleraient pour nous, que si I'homme politique qui incarne 
I'idSe de la solidaritd des intirets franfais et grecs dtait appeld au 
pouvoir." — Romanos to Politis, Paris, 29 Sept./i2 Oct., 1916. 

* Du Fournet, p. 116. Small wonder that the honest sailor's 
gorge rose at such proceedings : " Could I associate myself with 
manoeuvres of this sort ? " he asks in disgust. " When German 
arms and bombs were seized in the bag from Berlin to Christiania, 
when similar things were discovered at Bucharest, and were detected 
in the United States under Bernstorf's protection, the Allies mani- 
fested their indignation. They were a hundred times right ; but 
what was odious in America, was it not odious in Greece ? " 

^ The British Intelhgence Service demonstrated its sense of 



128 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

British agents, after fomenting those fatal differences 
which divide and degrade a people, had developed into 
directors of plots and organizers of sedition. 

But, in spite of such encouragement, the capital — or, 
indeed, any part of Old Greece — had never appealed to 
M. Venizelos as a starting-point of sedition. He knew that 
only in the recently acquired and as yet imperfectly 
assimilated regions — regions under the direct influence of 
the Alhes — he could hope to rebel with safety. His plan 
embraced, besides Salonica, the islands conquered in 1912, 
particularly his native Crete. In that home of immemorial 
turbulence his friends, seconded by British Secret Service 
and Naval officers, had found many retired bandits eager 
to resume work. Even there, it is true, public opinion 
was not strikingly favourable to disloyalty ; but the 
presence of the British Fleet in Suda Bay had much of 
persuasion in it.^ 

Our diplomacy did not openly commit itself. Sir 
Francis Elliot still nursed the hope of effecting a reconciUa- 
tion between the ex-PreiTiier and his King. When, in 
August, a conference was secretly held at Athens between 
M. Venizelos and a number of Cretan conspirators, the 
latter carried back the depressing inteUigence that British 
official sympathy with their project lacked the necessary 
degree of warmth. And again, on 11 September, when 
the British Consul of Canea went over to Athens with 
some of those conspirators, he was ordered by the British 
Legation to stay there, so as to avoid any suspicion of 
comphcity. This attitude of correct reserve on the part 
of the British Foreign Office, however, did not prevent 
the British naval authorities on the spot from working 
out, in concert with the insurgents, a plan of operations 
under which some chieftains were to invest the coast towns 
on the land side, while our men-of-war patrolled the sea 
in their interest. ^ 

humour and shame by furnishing its secret agents with a formal 
certificate of their identity to be presented at the central ofifice of 
the Greek Pohce : one such patent of British protection was issued 
to an ex-spy of Sultan Abdul Hamid who had also spent six months 
in German pay. Besides the certificate, was issued a brassard, 
which the rogue might wear to protect him from arrest when break- 
ing the Greek Law on British account. Incredible, yet true. See 
J. C. Lawson's Tales of Mgean Intyigue, p. 233. 

1 Lawson, pp. 143-66. " Lawson, pp. 168-78. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 129 

France, on the other hand, made no distinction between 
diplomatic and naval action. On i8 September M. 
Gnillemin informed Admiral Dartige du Fournet that 
M. Venizelos was sailing for the islands, and orders were 
given for a French escort. But at the last moment M. 
Venizelos did not sail. He hesitated. The French Secret 
Service urged the National Leader to lead, instead of being 
prodded from behind ; but he resisted their pressure and 
their plain speaking.^ When questioned by the Associated 
Press Correspondent if there was any truth in the reports 
that he was going to put himself at the head of the revolu- 
tionary forces, he replied : "I cannot answer now. I 
must wait a little while yet and see what the Government 
propose to do." 

It is possible that this was the reason why M. Venizelos 
paused irresolute on the brink. It is possible that he 
suffered, as the disrespectful Frenchmen hinted, from one 
of those attacks of timidity to which he was subject in a 
crisis. It is possible that the ambiguous attitude of 
England damped his martial spirit. For the rest, to make 
a revolution is a matter that may well give the strongest- 
minded pause. What wonder if, reckless, obstinate, and 
unscrupulous as he was, M. Venizelos, when faced with 
the irrevocable, felt the need to weigh his position, to 
reconsider whether the momentous step he was taking was 
necessary, was right, was prudent ? 

However, events soon put an end to his hesitation. 
The decisive event — the hair which turned the scale — 
according to M. Venizelos himself, was supplied, appro- 
priately enough, by a barber. One day, whilst the Leader 
of the Liberals wrestled with his soul, a friend called and 
reported to him a talk he had just had with his hairdresser, 
" a terrible VenizeUst, who spoke thus : ' We here, simple 
folk, say that Venizelos bears a heavy responsibility : he 
tells us we are going to the dogs. Eh, well then, why 
doesn't he stop us ? ' This conversation shook me deeply. 
My friend gone, I said to myself : ' Indeed, this barber 
speaks wisely, and my hesitations to discharge my duty 
to the end must vanish, because they may possibly spring 
from purely egotistical motives. Sir, I said to myself, 
having laid up from many struggles and many successes 
^ Du Fournet, pp. 130-1. 
9 



130 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

a capital above the average, you don't wish to risk it and 
think it better to sit quiet, choosing to enjoy the moral 
satisfaction of seeing the fulfilment of your prophecies 
rather than make an effort to prevent it.' "^ It is always 
interesting to trace mighty events to trifling causes ; and 
it would have been particularly pleasant to believe that 
the destinies of Greece for once literally stood "on a 
razor's edge."^ But we will do M. Venizelos the credit of 
belie\'ing him less childish than he represents himself. 
There were weightier tilings " to shake " him into a 
decision. 

On 20 September, when, according to plan, he was due 
in Crete, the train laid there exploded. His friends had 
come down from the hills thirsting for the blood of Greek 
and IVIohammedan victims : should the massacre they 
meditated take place, M. Venizelos would never leave 
Athens alive. ^ The news was of a nature to compel him 
at last to take the plunge ; and in the small hours of 
25 September, the National Leader stole out of Greece on 
a ship escorted by a French torpedo-boat. His flight had 
been organized by the French Secret Service like a carnival 
masquerade, on the painful details of which, says Admiral 
Dartige, it would be better not to dwell.* 

His advent in Crete had been so efficiently prepared by 
the British Secret Service and naval officers — without 
whom there would have been neither mutiny nor insurrec- 
tion — that, on landing, M. Venizelos had nothing to do 
but instal himself in the best hotel at Canea and proclaim 
himself with his confederate Admiral Coundouriotis the 
Provisional Government.^ 

Under the fostering care of the Allied men-of-war the 
movement spread to Samos, Mytilene, Chios, Lemnos, 
and Thasos, where the constitutional operations witnessed 
in Crete were duly repeated. But all the other islands 
and the mainland — that is, the whole of the Hellenic 
Kingdom, ^vith the exception of the new territories — 

^ Orations, p. 190. 

2 " Now, to all of us it stands on a razor's edge : either pitifu 
ruin for the Achaians or life." Homer, Iliad, X, 173. 

3 Lawson, pp. 180-9. 
* Du Fournet, p. 131. 

^ Lawson, pp. 198-226. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 131 

adhered steadfastly to the person and the pohcy of theii" 
King. As for the armed forces of the Crown, Admiral 
Coundouriotis had hoped by his prestige, deservedly high 
since the Balkan wars, to bring away with him the whole 
or a large part of the Fleet : he brought away only two 
torpedo-boats and another small unit, the desertion of 
which was effected by a trick, " for which," says the 
French Admiral, " France would have cause to blush. "^ 

In itself the Venizelist movement, as a disruptive force, 
was negUgible.2 But the co-operation of the French 
Republic and the British Empire invested it with an 
alarming significance. 

M. Calogeropoulos and his colleagues who watched this 
rising tempest anxiously did everything they could to 
conjure it. Although to their offer no reply was given, 
on hearing informally that the Entente Powers would 
not accept the proffered alliance unless Greece declared 
war on Bulgaria at once, they signified their willingness 
so to do, if, content with that, the Entente would accord 
Greece adequate military and financial assistance during the 
struggle and support her territorial claims at the conclusion 
of peace ; if, in addition, M. Briand deemed the Cabinet 
question of immediate importance, they were prepared 
to solve it definitely for the sake of restoring complete 
harmony between Greece and the Entente Powers. ^ 

The authors of this message were given to understand 
that the reply would be handed to King Constantine 
himself, the Entente Governments declining to recognize 
the actual Cabinet ; that it would be in the form of an 
ultimatum, demanding that Greece should declare war on 
Bulgaria within forty-eight hours unconditionally, after 
which they promised to supply her with money and 
munitions during the struggle and at the conclusion of 
peace to take into account her territorial claims as far as 

^ Du Fournet, p. 136. 

2 A paragraph of the Debierre Report, adopted by the French 
Senate on 21 Oct., 1916, may be quoted in this connexion : " La 
revolution Salonicienne vue de pris, n' est Hen. Elle est sans raclue, 
sans lendeniain probable. Venizelos est ires anioindri. La Grice, 
dont les officiers et les soldats ne veulent pas se battre, est avec Con- 
siayitin." — Mermeix, Le Commandcment Unique, Part II, p. 60. 

3 Romanos, Paris, 14/27, 15/28 Sept. ; Carapanos to Greek 
Legation, Paris, 15/28 Sept., 1916. 



132 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

circumstances would permit ; meanwhile, they demanded 
the formation of a new Ministry, and, failing compliance, 
they threatened " most energetic measures." M. Briand 
kindly added that he delayed the presentation of this 
ultimatum in order to give His Majesty the advantage of 
making a spontaneous gesture without the appearance of 
compulsion.^ 

Whereupon (3 Oct.) INI. Venizelos at Canea was sounded 
whether, if the Calogeropoulos Cabinet made place for one 
ready to declare war on Bulgaria, he would insist on 
presiding over such a Cabinet or would be satisfied with 
being represented in it by some of his partisans. 

These overtures may be regarded as a last attempt on 
the part of Athens to take the Cretan at his word. For 
M. Venizelos had never tired of professing his wiHingness 
to support any Government which would adopt his poHcy 
of prompt action : it was not personal power he hungered 
after, but national prosperit}''. Even at the moment of 
going to head a rebellion, he had not ceased to proclaim 
his patriotic unselfishness.^ We have seen to what extent 
hitherto his actions had accorded with his professions : 
how adroitly he had maintained abroad the reputation, 
without incurring the sacrifices, of magnanimity. Once 
more he gave proof of the same adroitness : 

" True to his previous declarations, M. Venizelos replied 
that he was ready to give his support and that of his 
party to a Government which would declare war on 
Bulgaria, and that he asked neither to preside over such 
a Government nor to be represented in it by his partisans. 
As a patriot and a statesman, seeking only his country's 
welfare," etc., etc., etc. But — " the principal followers 
of M. Venizelos do not believe that this new step taken 
by the authorities at Athens indicates a change in the 
right direction in the councils of the Palace. They main- 
tain that the idea behind this demarche is simply to gain 
time. I have pressed M. Venizelos on this, and, although 
he did not wish to appear to be as emphatic as his followers, 
he had to admit to me that he had no illusions and that 
he remained sceptical. If King Constantine is really 

1 Romanos, Paris, 16/29, 17/30 Sept. ; Gennadius, London, 
17/30 Sept., 1916. 
^ See " Message from M. Venizelos," iu The Times, 27 Sept., 1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 133 

sincere, he can give a proof which will allay all doubts. 
Let him order a mobilization at once . . . and call in 
M. Venizelos to form a new Government."^ 

King Constantine, instead of treating the Cretan as a 
rebel, still wished to treat him as a responsible citizen, and 
by his moderation to give him an opportunity of a decent 
return to legal order. But he could not, even if he wished, 
call to power a man in open revolt : by so doing he would 
alienate the loyal majority without conciliating the 
disloyal minority. 

After thus burning the last boat that might have carried 
him back to legahty, M. Venizelos took the first boat that 
travelled in the opposite direction. He left Suda Bay on 
5 October, amidst the cheers of the Allied squadrons, 
bound for Salonica by way of Samos and Mytilene. At 
Samos he received a fresh token of the approval with 
which the Entente viewed his operations : the commander 
of a British man-of-war, acting on instructions, officially 
called on him and paid his respects. ^ 

And so he reached Salonica, took up his abode at the 
royal residence, and with Admiral Coundouriotis and 
General Danglis composed a Triumvirate which, having 
appointed a Ministry, began to levy taxes and troops, and 
to negotiate for a loan. 

The metamorphosis of a Prime Minister into an insurgent 
chief, though a remarkable phenomenon, is no matter 
for surprise. I\I. Venizelos sprang from people among 
whom insurrection formed the traditional method of 
asserting political opinions. His father was a veteran of 
the Greek Revolution of 1821, and passed most of his life 
plotting. His grandfather is supposed to have been a 
refugee of the earlier Greek revolt of 1770. ^ He himself 
had grown up amidst vivid echoes of the Cretan Rebellion 
of 1866. While contact with the frock-coated world of 

^ The Daily Telegraph, 5 Oct., 19 16. 

^ The Daily Telegraph, 7 Oct., 1916. 

^ The authentic history of the Venizelos family begins with our 
hero's father ; his grandfather is a probable hypothesis : the re- 
moter ancestors with whom, since his rise to fame, he has been en- 
dowed by enthusiastic admirers in Western Europe, are purely 
romantic. In Greece, where nearly everyone's origin is involved 
in obscurity, matters of this sort possess little interest, and M. 
Venizelos's Greek biographers dwell only on his ascent. 



13t GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

modern Europe during the latter period of his career had 
clothed him with a statesman's proper external circum- 
stance, it had not eradicated the primitive instincts 
implanted in him by heredity and fostered by environment. 
Sechtion was in his blood, which perhaps explains the 
flair — the almost uncanny /at> — he had for the business. 

Nor did he lack experience. After sharing in one 
Cretan insurrection against the Sultan in i8g6, he led 
another against Prince George in 1905. This exploit — 
known as the Therisos Movement — deserves special notice, 
for it bears a curious and most instructive analogy to the 
enterprise with which we are now dealing. 

In 1899 M. Venizelos became a member of the first 
Cretan Administration appointed by the High Commis- 
sioner, Prince George — King Constantine's brother. The 
status of the island was provisional, and the fulfilment 
of the national desire for union \\dth Greece depended 
partly on the poHcy of the Powers which had combined 
to act as its Protectors, partly on the prudence of the 
islanders themselves and of their continental kinsmen. 
Such was the situation when, in 1901, INI. Venizelos suddenly 
conceived the idea of turning Crete into an autonomous 
principaUty. Prince George objected to the proposal, 
arguing that neither in Crete nor in Greece would public 
opinion approve it. M. Venizelos sounded the Hellenic 
Government and the Opposition, and was told by both 
that, from the standpoint of national interest and senti- 
ment, his scheme was absolutely imacceptable. Neverthe- 
less, he persevered and succeeded in forming a party to 
support his views. It may be, as he affirmed, that his 
scheme was a merely temporary expedient intended to 
pave the way to ultimate union. But the Greeks, inter- 
preting it as a proposal for perpetual separation, remained 
bitterly hostile, and the fact that autonomy was known 
to be favoured in certain foreign quarters deepened their 
resentment. M. Venizelos was roandly denounced as a 
tool of foreign Powers, and Prince George was accused of 
comphcity, and threatened with the lot of a traitor unless 
he dismissed him. The High Commissioner made use of 
the right which the Constitution of the island gave him, 
and M. Venizelos was dismissed (March, 1901). 

A truceless war against the Administration and everyone 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 135 

connected with it ensued. Prince George was attacked — 
not directly, but through his entourage — as a born autocrat 
holding in scorn the rights of the people, tyrannizing over 
the Press, persecuting all those who refused to bow to 
his will, aiming at the subversion of free institutions. At 
first this campaign met with more success abroad than at 
home. The Cretan people expressed its opinion by its 
vote : among the sixty-four deputies elected to the 
Chamber in 1903 there were only four Venizehsts. 

His defeat did not daunt M. Venizelos, who, after a 
brief repose, resumed operations. He hesitated at no 
calumny, at no outrageous invention, to get even with 
his adversaries. Charges of all kinds poured in upon the 
Prince. Speeches which he had never made were attributed 
to him, and speeches which he did make were systematically 
misreported and misinterpreted. At last, in 1904, when 
Prince George decided to visit the Governments of the 
Protecting Powers in order to beg them to bring about 
the union of Crete with Greece by stages, M. Venizelos, 
dropping the scheme which had lost him his popularity, 
rushed in with an vmcompromising demand for immediate 
union, though he knew perfectly well that such a solution 
was impracticable. The Cretans knew it, too. On finding 
that they looked upon his change of creed with suspicion, 
he resolved to seize by violence what he could not gain 
by his eloquence. With some 600 armed partisans (out 
of a population of 300,000) he took to the hills (March, 1905), 
called for the convocation of a National Assembly to revise 
the Constitution, and meanwhile urged the people to 
boycott the impending elections. Despite his speeches and 
his bravoes, only 9,000 out of the 64,000 electors abstained 
from voting ; and most of them abstained for other 
reasons than the wish to show sympathy with the 
insurgents. 

The High Commissioner wrote to the Powers at the 
time : " If M. Venizelos was truly animated by the desire 
to defend constitutional institutions, he would have come 
before the electors with his programme and, whatever the 
result, he would certainly have earned more respect as a 
politician. But, instead of choosing the legal road to 
power, he preferred to stir up an insurrection, disguising 
his motives under the mask of ' The National Idea,' but, 



13G GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

as is proved by his o\\"n declarations, really inspired by 
personal animus and party interest. It mattered little to 
him how disastrous an effect this upheaval might have on 
the national cause by plunging the country into civil war 
or into fresh anarchy. Can anyone recognize in this way 
of acting the conduct of a genuine and serious patriot ? " 

M. Venizelos repelled these imputations, protesting that 
his movement was no way directed against the Prince. 
Yet it resulted in the departure of the Prince : the Powers 
who went to Crete to restore order entered into relations 
with the rebels ; the manner in which these intimacies 
were carried on and the decisions to which they led made 
the Prince's position untenable, and he gave up his Com- 
missionership in 1906. Likewise M. Venizelos affirmed 
that he had not stirred up an insurrection, but only headed 
a spontaneous outbreak of popular discontent. Yet even 
after his triumph he failed, in the elections of 1907, to 
obtain a majority.^ 

The Therisos performance in every point — plot and 
staging, methods and motives — was a rehearsal for the 
Salonica performance. Would the denouement be the 
same ? This question taxed M. Venizelos's dialectical 
dexterity very severely. 

At the outset he repudiated as a monstrous and maUcious 
calumny the common view that his programme was to 
march on Athens and to dethrone the King. His move- 
ment was directed against the Bulgars, not against the 
King or the Dynasty : " We are neither anti-royalist nor 
anti-djTiastic," he declared, " we are simply patriots." 
Only, after the liberation of Greece from the foreign 
invaders, her democratic freedom should be assured by 
a thorough elucidation of the duties and rights of the 
Cro^vn — a revision of the Constitution to be effected through 
a National Assembly. ^ 

So spoke M. Venizelos at the outset, partly because the 

^ For one side of this affair see Memorandum de S.A .R. Le 
Prince Georges de Grece, Haul Commissaire en Crete, aux Quatre 
Grandes Puissances Protectrices de la Crete, 1905. The other side 
has been expounded in many publications : among them, E. Veni- 
zelos : His Life, His Work. By Costa Kairophyla, pp. 37-65 ; 
Eleutherios Venizelos. By K. K. Kosmides, pp. 14-16. 
fr 2 See The Times, -z-j Sept. ; The Eleutheros Typos, 23 Oct. (O.S.), 
1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 137 

Allies, who did not want to have civil war in the rear of 
their armies, bade him to speak so,^ and partly because 
he wished to give his cause currency by stamping upon it 
the legend of loyalty. He realized that for the present 
any suspicion that he wished to embark on a campaign 
against King Constantine would be fatal, and by declaring 
war only against the Bulgars he hoped to entice patriotic 
citizens anxious to help their country without hurting 
their sovereign. But when time proved the futility of 
these tactics, the same M. Venizelos avowed that his 
programme was, first to consolidate his position in Mace- 
donia by breaking down resistance wherever it might be 
encountered, and then, " when we had gathered our forces, 
we meant to follow up our work, if need be by arms, on 
the remainder of Greek territory." If he had not given 
an anti-dynastic character to his enterprise, that, he 
naively expla.ined, was " because the Entente had been 
good enough to promise me their indispensable aid under 
the express stipulation that the movement should not be 
anti-dynastic." However, the error was not irreparable : 
" After victory, grave internal questions will have to be 
solved," he said. " King Constantine, who has stepped 
down from the throne of a constitutional king to become 
a mere party chief, must accept the consequences of the 
defeat of his policy, just as every other defeated party 
chief. "^ 

In other words, the Salonica sedition, though not solely 
revolutionary, involved a revolution within certain limits. 
M. Venizelos was far too astute to countenance the republi- 
can chimeras cherished by some of his followers. Republi- 
canism, he knew well, found no favour in Greece and 
could expect no support from England. Therefore, with 
the monarchical principle he had no quarrel : his hostility 
was directed wholly against the person of the reigning 
monarch. A prince pHant to his hand would suit M. 
Venizelos. If he got the best of it, his avowed intention 
was to treat King Constantine precisely as he had treated 
King Constantine 's brother in days gone by. 

We now understand Prince George's earnestness in 
urging his brother, as long ago as May, 1915, to run before 

1 Du Fournet, p. 176. 

2 The New Europe, 29 March, 19 17. 



188 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the gale : he spoke from bitter experience of the Protecting 
Powers and their protege. 

It is seldom that history repeats itself so accurately ; 
and it is more seldom still that the historian has the 
means of tracing so sm-ely a rebel's progress. In most 
cases it is hard to decide whether the hero was guided by 
events which he could not have foreseen, or whether he 
had from the first a clear and definite goal in view. In 
the case of M. Venizelos this difficulty does not exist. 
Each of his actions, as illuminated by his past, was a step 
to an end ; and he has himself defined that end. 



CHAPTER XIII 

MVENIZELOS had unfurled the standard of 
rebellion in the true spirit of his temperament 
• and traditions. To him civil war had nothing 
repulsive about it : it was a normal procedure — a ladder 
to power. Naturally, he persuaded others, and perhaps 
himself, that he acted purely with the patriotic intention 
of devoting to the public benefit the power which, for that 
purpose only, it became his duty to usurp. Moved by 
the ambition to aggrandize Greece, he felt at liberty to 
use whatever means might conduce to so desirable an end. 
The sole question that troubled him was, whether this 
old ladder would serve him as faithfully as in the past. 
And once again the answer depended on the attitude of 
the " Protecting Powers." 

Those Powers had hitherto blundered in all their Balkan 
deaUngs with depressing uniformity. First came the 
mistake about Bulgaria. The hate of the Greeks for the 
Bulgars was a psychological force which, properly esti- 
mated and utilized, could without any difficulty have been 
made to do our work for us. But that force was never 
properly estimated by our diplomacy. The Entente 
Governments, instead of enlisting it on their side, ranged 
it against them ; thereby sacrificing Servia and estranging 
Greece. To that initial error was added a second. Until 
the truth could no longer be ignored, the AHies persisted 
in the egregrious fallacy that the popularity of King 
Constantine was as nothing compared with the popularity 
of M. Venizelos — to our detriment. " Two years before," 
observes Admiral Dartige du Fournet, " all the Greeks 
were the friends of France ; in October, 1916, two-thirds 
of them were her enemies." That was the fact ; and, 
according to the same witness — ^who described himself, 
not without reason, as " a Venizelist by profession " — the 
cause was this : " The mass of the people of continental 

139 



liO GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Greece was hostile to the Chief of the Liberals. When 
that mass saw that M. Venizelos started a sedition and 
that we supported him, it became plainly hostile to us."^ 

The Admiral mentions also German pressure, but he 
rightly regards it as a subsidiary cause. The Germans 
did little more than " blow on the fire kindled by our 
own clumsiness and violences." Baron Schenck, the 
director of the German propaganda at Athens, watched 
our coercion of King Constantine with that apparent 
indignation and secret joy which the faults of an enemy 
inspire, and when expelled by the Allies, said that he did 
not mind going : the Allies could be trusted to carry on 
his mission. They did. 

What their plan was will appear from their actions. 
We cannot penetrate into the minds of men, and we 
cannot always beUeve their words ; but their actions are 
open to observation and speak more truly than their lips. 

As soon as he settled at Salonica, M. Venizelos applied 
to the Entente Powers for official recognition of his Provi- 
sional Government. They refused him this recognition : 
but instructed their Consuls to treat with the Provisional 
Government " on a de facto footing " ;2 and, while pouring 
cold water upon him wdth one hand, with the other they 
gave him money. This mode of action was the result of 
a compromise, achieved at the Boulogne Conference, 
between France and her partners. A feeble and inconse- 
quent way of doing things, no doubt. But to be consequent 
and powerful, a partnership must be bottomed on some 
common interest or sentiment ; and such in the Greek 
question, as already explained, did not exist. 

At Athens the action of the AlHes was less open to the 
criticism of tameness. 

After a life of three weeks passed in fruitless efforts to 
enter into relations with the Entente Powers, even by 
proposing to discard the Ministers obnoxious to them, the 
Calogeropoulos Cabinet resigned (4 Oct.), and King Con- 
stantine, having exhausted his stock of politicians, sought 
a candidate for the Premiership in circles which, remote 
from party intrigue, might have been thought immune 
from suspicion. Professor Lambros, who accepted the 

1 Du Fournet, pp. 132, 171. 

^ The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7 ; The Times, 17 Oct., 1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 141 

mandate (8 Oct.), was known as a grave savant, generally 
esteemed for his kindly nature as much as for his intellec- 
tual eminence and administrative capacity. But Professor 
Lambros laboured under the universal disability of not 
being a Venizelist. Therefore, he was " believed to be 
Germanophile," and it was " questionable whether his 
Cabinet will be recognized by the Entente Powers."^ 
However, in less than a week, he " estabhshed contact " 
with their representatives. It was " contact " in a sense 
of the term more familiar to soldiers than to statesmen. 

On 10 October Admiral Dartige de Fournet resumed his 
activities by launching on the Hellenic Government an 
Ultimatum. Greece was summoned, within twenty-four 
hours, to disarm her big ships, to hand over to him all 
her light ships intact, and to disarm all her coast batteries, 
except three which were to be occupied by the Allies. In 
addition, the port of the Piraeus, the railways, and the 
police were to be placed under Allied control. 

The demand for her Fleet, Greece was told, arose from 
uneasiness about the safety of the Allied armada — a 
pretext that exposed itself : the Greek Fleet consisted of 
only five battleships dating from 1891-2, except one whose 
date was 1908 ; two cruisers, dating from 1911 and 1914 ; 
and a microscopic light flotilla. " To see there a serious 
danger, it would be puerile," says Admiral Dartige himself ; 
and far from feeling elated at the success of the operation, 
he tells us that he " suffered at being constrained by 
events to use force against a neutral and weak nation." 
But he had to do it : though not a matter to be proud of, 
it was a precaution not altogether unjustifiable. He 
could, however, neither justify nor qualify the other 
measures. They involved, he says, a high-handed en- 
croachment on the internal affairs of the country — an 
abuse of power pure and simple : " We admitted officially 
the right of Greece to neutrality, and yet we laid hands 
upon part of her national life, even upon the secrets of 
the private life of every Greek. It was the execution of 
the plan which the admirals assembled at Malta had 
repelled in March, 1916. Well might the Germanophiles 
point out that Germany did not act thus in Denmark, in 
Sweden, in Holland ; that a victor would not have imposed 
^ The Times, dispatch from Athens, 8 Oct., 1916. 



142 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

harder terms of armistice." These measures were entirely 
the work of the French Government : the French Admiral 
himself disapproved of them as much as did the Ministers 
of England and Russia.^ 

The Hellenic Government could not be deceived by 
pretexts which their very authors despised. But neither 
could it argue A\dth persons accustomed to 

" Decide all controversies by Infallible artillery, 

And prove their doctrine orthodox By apostolic blows 

and knocks." 
It could only protest and submit. 

The Hellenic people proved less discreet. What could 
be the motive of such measures ? they asked. Were they 
intended to prevent or to provoke troubles ? The answer 
lay under their very eyes. From the moment when 
M. Venizelos left Athens, the AlUes did everything they 
could to assist his partisans in following the Leader to 
Salonica. Their warships patrolled the coast picking up 
rebels, and giving them a free passage : even entertaining 
the more important among them as the personal guests 
of the Commander-in-Chief on his flagship. But now they 
took the movement openly under their direction. With 
an excess of zeal which the British Minister deplored and 
the French Admiral himself condemned, the French Secret 
Ser\'ice at Athens organized convoys of insurgents which 
defiled through the streets of the capital escorted by 
French marines under French officers in uniform.^ 

The resentment of the Greeks was intense ; but the 
consciousness of impotence served as a curb on their 
emotions. It is true that one day, as AUied aeroplanes 
flew over Athens, they were greeted with derisive shouts : 
" Not here ; to BerUn ! " another day, as a band of rebels 
were convoyed through the principal streets by the French, 
the crowds gave vent to lively protests ; and every day 
the newspapers told the champions of Libert}^ and Justice 
what they thought of them so frankly that the French 
Chief of the Police Control had to warn their editors to 
desist on pain of suspension. But of active hostihty, 
such as any western capital would have manifested in 
similar circumstances, there was no sign at Athens. The 
only impressive manifestations were manifestations of 
1 Du Fournet, pp. 138-9, 141-3. ^ Du Fournet, pp. 133-5, 146- 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 143 

loyalty to the King, who set his subjects the example of 
self-restraint. At a review of the crews of the warships 
taken by the French, he thanked them for their fidelity 
and expressed the hope that they would soon be able to 
return to their vessels. After this quiet ceremony, bodies 
of citizens paraded the streets carrying portraits of their 
sovereign.^ 

Had there been no popular demonstrations at all, one 
can fancy M. Venizelos and the Allies pointing to that 
fact as proof of their contention that the great majority 
of the people remained VenizeHst. As it was, they derived 
what profit they could from the opposite fact. The various 
incidents were attributed by the Anglo-French and 
Venizelist journals to German intrigue. The consolation 
which the King administered to his sailors — men who had 
so brilliantly disappointed the rebels' expectations by not 
deserting — was twisted into a defiance of the Entente. 
The bodies of peaceful demonstrators were exaggerated 
into crowds of rioters. And so, " in the interests of public 
order," Admiral Dartige proceeded to land reinforcements 
for the police : 1,200 bluejackets. Some occupied the 
town hall at the Piraeus and the railway stations ; some 
went to the forts on the heights ; others were posted about 
the harbour, or were told ofi to patrol the streets (16 Oct.), 
while a detachment was quartered at Athens itself, in the 
Zappeion— a large exhibition building within a few hundred 
yards of the Royal Palace. ^ 

Under such circumstances the diplomatic intercourse 
between the Entente and the new Greek Government 
went on. M. Lambros declared that he intended to 
continue his predecessor's policy of friendly relations with 
all the belUgeients and of benevolent neutrality towards 
the AlHes, dwelling on the fact that nearly everyone of 
his predecessors had plainly stated Greece's willingness to 
co-operate with the Entente on terms not contrary to her 
own interests, and recalling that the Calogeropoulos 
Ministry had set forth the conditions of co-operation, but 
the Entente Governments had given no reply. So the 
Premier spoke to the Entente representatives and asked 
that the coercive measures might be brought to an end, 
^ The Times, dispatch from Athens, i6 Oct., 1916. 
^ Du Fournet, pp. 146-8. 



144 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

expressing the fear lest, should these measures go beyond 
a certain limit, their acceptance by Greece might become 
very difficult, and emphasizing the sorrow which the 
Greek people felt at seeing its independence fettered.^ 

England found this declaration satisfactory ; but before 
answering it definitely, she must take counsel with her 
allies. 2 France, by the mouth of j\I. Briand, pronounced 
the allusion to friendly relations with all the belhgerents 
unfortunate : she was unable to understand how Greece 
could maintain friendly relations with Germany and even 
with Bulgaria after the occupation of Eastern Macedonia. ^ 
And so, having taken counsel together, the Allies set 
forth their views in a tardy reply to King Constantine's 
last offer. The gist of it was contained in this phrase : 
" The Greek Government has several times since the 
beginning of the War offered to come in on our side ; but 
its offers, and particularly the last one, were accompanied 
by conditions which rendered them unacceptable." The 
Entente Powers added that they did not want Greece, 
unless she declared, on her own initiative, war against 
Bulgaria. It was the only way to gain their confidence.* 

In other words, Greece should take the field without any 
agreement, so that she should have no claims either to 
adequate support during the war or to compensations at 
the conclusion of peace : nay, it was even hoped in Paris 
and London that Bulgaria might yet be seduced from the 
Central Powers, and in that case not only would Greece 
gain nothing in Thrace, but might very likely lose a portion 
of Macedonia.^ It was the old story — to which King 
Constantine could never listen. He would suffer anything 
rather than plunge his country into war wdthout even an 
assurance of its territorial integrity. When at this juncture 
a well-intentioned adviser warned him that his policy 
might cost him his throne, he answered promptly : " I do 
not care about my throne. I only think of Greece."^ 

1 Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 
3/i6 Oct., 1916. 

2 Gennadius, London, 6/19 Oct., 1916. 

3 Romanos, Paris, 7/20 Oct., 1916. 

* Gennadius, London, 10/23 Oct., 1916. 

5 Romanes, Paris, 26 Aug./8 Sept., 1916 ; Cp. Deville, pp. 221. 
foil. ; Du Fournet, p. 171. 

^ P. E. Drakoulis, in The Times, 30 Nov., 1920. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 145 

At the same time, there was little he would not do to 
remove those fears and suspicions which were perpetually 
pleaded as reasons for coercion. The surrender of the 
Fleet had allayed once for all the AHies' uneasiness about 
their forces at sea. There remained their uneasiness about 
their forces on land. In spite of his repeated declarations 
that under no circumstances would Greece take up a 
hostile attitude, the King was credited with a treacherous 
design — to mass in Thessaly 80,000 men, lay up munitions 
and provisions, wait until the Allied Army should march 
on Monastir, and then attack it from behind.^ After 
reading M. Venizelos's own avowal of his intention to 
follow up the conversion of Macedonia with an attack 
on the rest of Greece, particularly Thessaly, ^ one hardly 
needs to be told at whom King Constantine's precautions 
were aimed. 

Yet, wishing to prove his good faith in a practical manner, 
the King called the British Minister and offered to reduce 
his army to less than half by disbanding about 35,000 men 
and to withdraw certain units from Thessaly. The British 
Minister, delighted by this spontaneous offer, thanked the 
King, expressing the hope that his action would be greatly 
appreciated, that all mistrust would vanish, and that the 
Powers would moderate their coercions. With a remark 
from the King, that the one thing he would not tolerate 
was a descent of rebels on Thessaly and the rest of Old 
Greece, and that he would attack them if they appeared, 
Sir Francis Elliot fully concurred. 

Instead of the return which the King expected to this 
spontaneous proof of his sincerity, he received (20 October) 
an intimation that the Powers not only demanded what 
he had already granted, but in addition things which he 
could not possibly grant — the internment of the small 
remnant of his army in the Peloponnesus and a surrender 
of arms and war material equivalent to a complete dis- 
armament. These measures, while exceeding all require- 
ments for the security of the Allies, put the security of 
Greece in danger by leaving her a prey to revolutionary 
agitation. The King, therefore, begged the Powers not 

1 Du Fournet, p. 149. 

* The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7. 



146 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to insist on concessions which neither could he make nor 
would his people let him make.^ 

Nothing, indeed, was better calculated to excite to the 
highest degree the passions fermenting against the Allies 
than an insistence on total disarmament at a moment when 
M. Venizelos at Salonica and his partisans at Athens were 
arming. Fortunately a mediator appeared in the person 
of M. Benazet, a French Deputy and Reporter of the War 
Budget, who was passing through Athens on his way to 
Salonica to inspect the sanitary condition of the Army. 
His connexions had brought him into touch with the most 
influential leaders of both Greek parties ; and with the 
sanction of M. Briand, procured through M. Guillemin, 
who, himsell no longer received at Court, saw an advantage 
in reaching it by proxy, he undertook to negotiate an 
amicable an^angement between King Constantine and the 
Entente. 

M. Benazet 's idea was to obtain from the King not only 
tangible pledges which would eliminate all possibility of 
danger from the Allies' path, but also positive reinforce- 
ments for them in arms and men ; and as a price he was 
prepared to guarantee to Old Greece her neutrality, her 
liberty in the management of her internal affairs, and her 
immunity from aggression on the part of M. Venizelos. 
Young, eloquent, and refined, the spokesman brought into 
an environment corrupted by diplomatic chicanery a 
breath of candour. His manner inspired and evoked 
confidence. The King readily agreed, besides the reduc- 
tion which he had already offered, to transfer the remainder 
of his army to the Peloponnesus, to hand over to the 
Allies a considerable stock of guns, rifles, and other war 
material, and to allow all men who were released from their 
military obligations, and all officers who first resigned their 
commissions, to volunteer for service in Macedonia. M. 
Benazet, on his part, made himself guarantor for the 
French Government as to the pledges which the King 
required in exchange.^ 

This agreement met, at least in appearance, with the 
approval of M. Briand, who sent a telegram of congratula- 

1 Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petro- 
grad, 7/20 Oct., 1916. Cp. Du Fournet, pp. 149-50. 
* Du Fournet, pp. 152-4, and Appendix 5. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 147 

tions to M. Benazet/ and with that of M. Guillemin,who 
was at last received by the King. Both the French 
Premier and his representative at Athens expressed them- 
selves enchanted with the new turn of affairs, and even the 
fire-breathing Head of the French Secret Service declared 
that the result of the negotiation surpassed all hopes. As 
to Admiral Dartige, he could not but rejoice at an arrange- 
ment so consonant with his own ideas.* Thus all out- 
standing differences seemed happily settled, and the 
removal of mutual misunderstandings was celebrated by 
inspired pens in Paris and London.^ 

The only discordant note was struck by the Venizelist 
Press, which made no attempt to conceal its disappoint- 
ment. And suddenly, just as the withdrawal of the royal 
troops from the north was about to begin, the troops of the 
Provisional Government attacked Katerini on the southern 
frontier of Macedonia. M. Venizelos had dropped the 
pose that his movement was directed solely against the 
Bulgars : he marched on Old Greece. Did he by this 
move try to force the hand of the Allies, as formerly by 
bringing them to Salonica he had tried to force the hand 
of the King ? And was he encouraged in this move by 
those who were secretly opposed to an accommodation with 
the King ? Admiral Dartige did not know. What he 
did know was that this coup de force was designed to 
compromise the arrangement with Athens ; and as he could 
neither play nor appear to play a double game, he im- 
mediately telegraphed to Salonica demanding the retreat 
of the Venizelists. At the same time the King informed 
the French and British Ministers that he could not with- 
draw his troops from Thessaly until all danger was removed, 
and asked them to do everything that depended on them to 
remedy this state of things. Whereupon General Roques, 
the French Minister of War then at Salonica, disavowed 
the Venizelist action, and to prevent similar exploits in 
future decided to create a neutral zone under French 
occupation and administration. The Athens Government 
wcis not pleased to see part of its territory passing into 
French hands; but, after some demur, bowedto the decision.* 

^ Du Fournet, p. 316. 

* Du Fournet, pp. 155-6. 

3 The Times, 28 Oct., i Nov., 1916. 

* Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris and London, 12 Oct./ 



118 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Not so the Salonica Government. M. Venizelos keenly 
resented this barrier to his impetuosity. The neutral 
zone, he complained, by blocking off his access to Thessaly, 
forbade all extension of his movement and prevented him 
from " carrying with him three-fifths of Greece and levy- 
ing important contingents such as would have made him 
the absolute master of the country."^ But the Allies 
were no longer to be deluded. They had discovered that 
" the mass of the people of continental Greece was hostile 
to the Chief of the Liberals." An extension of his move- 
ment could only be effected by overwhelming force, and 
as M. Venizelos had neither the men nor the arms required 
for the enterprise, the Allies would have to provide both. 
In other words, civil war in the rear of their armies would 
not only jeopardise their security but entangle them in a 
campaign for the conquest of Greece : a thing which they 
could not afford to do even to oblige M. Venizelos. They 
preferred a subtler and safer, if slower, way to the success 
of their common cause. 

Baulked in his design on continental Greece, M. Venizelos 
demanded from Admiral Dartige the light flotilla in order 
to promote his cause in the islands. But here, also, he met 
A\dth a check. The Admiral had a different use for those 
vessels in view. Many months back he felt the want of 
patrol and torpedo-boats to cope with the growng sub- 
marine peril, and had suggested asking Greece for the 
cession of her light flotilla. The matter was postponed in 
the expectation that the vessels would go over to the Allies 
spontaneously as a result of the Venizelist movement, and 
on this expectation being disappointed they were, as we 
have seen, sequestered under the pretence of security for 
the Allied armada. Another excuse was needed for their 
appropriation ; and it came in the nick of time : two Greek 
steamers at that moment struck mines, presumably sown 
by an enemy submarine, in the Gulf of Athens. With the 
promptitude that comes of practice, Admiral Dartige 
announced to the Hellenic Government his decision to 
employ, at a valuation, its hght flotilla in the submarine 

3 Nov. ; General Roqucs to Greek Premier, Athens, 2/15 Nov. ; 
Zalocostas to Greek Legation, Paris, 4/17 Nov., 191 6. Cp. Du 
Fournet, pp. 169-70, 182. 

1 The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 149 

warfare, and to use the Salamis arsenal for repairs 
(3 November.) 1 

M. Lambros replied that compliance with the Admiral's 
request involved a breach of International Law, which 
forbade the sale of naval units by a neutral State to a 
belligerent, as well as a breach of a Greek law which for- 
bade the alienation of ships possessing military value. 
Besides, public opinion would never endure to see the 
country stripped of its naval means of defence and exposed 
to possible aggi^ession. He was, therefore, regretfully 
obUged to refuse the Hellenic Government's consent.^ 

The Admiral could not let a refusal stand in his way : 
" It would be unpardonable," he wrote in answer, " to 
leave these vessels unutilized whilst German submarines, 
heedless of the neutrality of Greece, came and sank her 
merchant ships in her waters, thus stopping maritime 
traffic and seriously prejudicing the life of the country."^ 

Having got over these little formalities, he hoisted the 
French flag on the vessels and seized the arsenal (7 Novem- 
ber). The Hellenic Government's protest against this 
fresh outrage,* naturally, had no effect. Only the British 
Minister made it clear that the act was exclusively the 
work of France.^ 

Nothing done by one group of belligerents, needless to 
say, escaped the attention of the other ; and the represen- 
tatives of the enemy Powers, besides fulminating against 
a step which, " in flagrant contravention of the principles 
of neutrality came to augment the armed forces of their 
adversaries," improved the occasion by reciting all the 
proofs of "a benevolent neutrality without parallel," 
which Greece had been giving those adversaries since the 
beginning of the War : the free passage of munitions and 
provisions for Servia ; the facihties accorded to Entente 
shipping ; the toleration of recruiting bureaux and wireless 
stations in Greek territory ; the use of isles and ports as 
naval bases. Then the landing of the Allies in Macedonia 

1 Du Fournet, pp. 135-6, 165, 167, 183. 

2 Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 23 Oct./5 Nov., 1916. 
^ Dartige du Fournet to Lambros, on board the Provence, 7 Nov., 

1916. 

* Zalocostas to the Entente Legations, Athens, 25 Oct./7 Nov., 
1916. 

^ Du Fournet, p. 168. 



150 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

had inaugurated a period of continuous violations of 
neutrality and the establishment of a regime of terror 
towards them : their Consuls were arrested, members of 
their Legations were assaulted, great numbers of their 
nationals were led into captivity or driven into exile, their 
merchant ships were seized, and the Ministers themselves 
were deprived of all means of communicating with their 
Governments. Last of all came the installation of Allied 
troops in Athens itself and the sequestration of the Greek 
navy, now transformed into a definite cession ; and, 
according to trustworthy intelUgence, the Entente Powers 
meant to exact shortly the disarmament of the Greek army 
also. They ended with a hint that the indulgence of their 
Governments might reach its Hmit.^ 

A more painful position for a free people and its rulers 
could not be imagined. But King Constantine comforted 
himself with the thought that the " pledges of friendship " 
exacted from him by the Allies would be followed by 
corresponding pledges from them. His negotiation with 
M. Benazet had received its finishing touches in the 
evening of 7 November : the Entente Powers would present 
to the Greek Government a Note setting forth their 
demands in the form of a " Summons," the terms of which 
were, word for word, agreed upon between the two parties. 
By this document the Allies bound themselves " to repeal 
the coercive measures taken up to now and never to tolerate 
that armed Greek bodies which had declared to have as 
their sole aim a struggle for the vindication of national 
ideas should turn aside from that aim in order to engage in 
acts of sedition. "2 

This clause formed the corner-stone of the whole pact. 
" It is clear," telegraphs M. Benazet to Paris, " that some 
sort of compensation is admitted in principle," — for very 
good reasons : " The King's sole fear — and a very intel- 
ligible one — is lest his own arms should be handed over to 
Greeks who would use them to march on Athens and 
overthrow his dynasty." ]\Ioreover, without such guaran- 
tees it will be impossible for the King and his Premier 
" to make disarmament acceptable by the Royahst Party, 

^ Mirbach, Szilassy, Passaroff, Ghalib Kemaly, Athens, 26 Oct./ 
8 Nov., 1916. 

2 Du Fournet, p. 177. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 151 

which constitutes the great majority of the nation." He 
added that neither the King nor his Premier was unaware 
of the hostihty with which these efforts for concihation 
were viewed by certain personaUties : but botli were 
resolved to show the greatest patience until the agreement 
had produced all its effects. The negotiator himself, 
equally aware of the hostile forces at work, left Athens 
with a heart full of misgivings.^ 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 174-8. 



CHAPTER XIV 

A WEEK had hardly elapsed since the conclusion 
of the agreement between the King of Greece and 
the French Deputy, when (16 November) Admiral 
Dartige du Fournet addressed to the Hellenic Premier a 
letter, claiming 18 batteries of field and 16 of mountain 
artillery wdth 1,000 shells for each gim ; 40,000 rifles with 
220 cartridges for each rifle ; 140 machine-guns with am- 
munition ; and 50 motor-vans. The claim was presented 
as " compensation " for the war material abandoned to the 
Germano-Bulgars in Cavalla : about guarantees not a word.^ 
The King called the Admiral (19 November) and, with 
perfect courtesy, yet with a visible change in his attitude, 
expressed his astonishment at so unexpected a version of 
the " Summons " agreed upon. The Admiral had no 
explanation to give to the King. But to us he explains 
ever^'thing. The French Minister at Athens was hostile 
to M. Benazet's amicable arrangement, and repudiated 
his pledges, notably the one concerning the spread of 
sedition. " We are not made to defend kings against 
their peoples," he said. The French Government likewise 
completely ignored the agreement, and the French Minister 
of War had dictated the lines on which the claim was 
drafted. Admiral Dartige 's comments on this volte-face 
are interesting : " Without wanting to give the Greek 
Government the two guarantees which it demanded, they 
claimed from it the fulfilment of the engagements of which 
those guarantees were the counter-part. It was a truly 
draconian and tmexpected pretension," he says, and to 
base that pretension on the Cavalla affair was " to mis- 
construe in part the reality of facts." ^ 

Why, then, was M. Benazet encouraged to negotiate ? 

Probably there were in France moderate elements strong 

enough to make it necessary to throw a sop to them. But 

the extremists were the stronger party ; and when it came 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 188-9. 

2 Du Fournet, pp. 151, 179-80, 182-3, i9o-i- 

152 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 153 

to a decision they carried the day. However, be the 
motive of the mission what it may, its repudiation meant 
that the old poUcy still held the field. It was an essential 
part of that policy not to allow Greece any attitude other 
than that of a belligerent. So, while the Entente Cabinets 
continued disclaiming all desire to drag an unwilHng 
country into war and declaring that the only thing they 
asked for was the observance of a benevolent neutrality, 
the practical exponents of their policy on the spot con- 
tinued to take steps in which Greece could acquiesce only 
if she contemplated a rupture with the Central Powers. 

In the evening of the same day (19 November) Admiral 
Dartige, at the instance of the Entente Ministers, ordered 
their German, Austrian, Turkish, and Bulgarian colleagues 
to quit the coimtry in three days.^ The Hellenic Govern- 
ment, to whom the Admiral communicated his decree, 
protested against this blow at the representatives of 
Powers with whom Greece, in virtue of her neutrality 
recognized by the Entente, was on terms of friendship and 
peace ; pointing out that the step was a breach not only 
of the inviolability assured to diplomats by International 
Law, but also of a formal promise given by the French and 
British Ministers to Premier Zaimis when the Allied Fleet 
arrived at the Piraeus — viz. that the missions of the Powers 
at war -with the Entente had absolutely nothing to fear. 
It asked that the decision might be revoked.^ 

Our representatives experienced no difficulty in dis- 
posing of this protest. The promise given was merely 
" an act of spontaneous courtesy " — it had not " any 
character of a definite, irrevocable engagement " — " and 
could not, in any case, have for effect to guarantee the 
Ministers of countries at war with the Entente against the 
consequences of hostile acts foreign to their diplomatic 
functions and contrary to the neutraUty of Greece " — 
acts of espionage and intrigue which, as a matter of fact, 
form an integral part of a diplomat's functions. They did 
not, therefore, " deem it possible to ask Admiral Dartige 
du Fournet to revoke the decision taken by him in virtue 
of the powers wdth which he was invested."^ 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 195-7. 

2 Zalocostas to the Entente Legations, Athens, 7/20 Nov, 191 6. 

^ Guillemin, Elliot, Bosdani, Demidoff, Athens, 8/21 Nov., 1916. 



154 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Thus the Ministers of Germany, Austria, Turkey, and 
Bulgaria were bundled off (22 November), protesting 
vigorously " against the outrages committed on four 
diplomatic representatives in neutral territory," charac- 
terising the things which took place at Athens as " beyond 
all comment," and wondering " whether a firmer attitude 
would not have spared the country these affronts on its 
sovereignty."^ 

This unprecedented measure added still further to the 
irritation of the Greeks, and the manner in which it was 
executed — wdthovit even a show of the courtesies pre- 
scribed between diplomats by the tradition of centuries — 
shocked the very man who acted as the executioner. Not 
for the first time had Admiral Dartige been made to serve 
ends which he did not understand, by means which he did 
not approve, in association with persons whom he could 
not respect. But the worst was yet to come. 

The Greek Premier delivered his answer to the Admiral's 
claim on 22 November. In that answer M. Lambros 
showed that the Allies had already " compensated them- 
selves " amply : the war material which they had appro- 
priated — not to mention the light flotilla — being superior 
both in quantity and in quality to anything that had been 
abandoned to their enemies. Then he went on to state 
that the surrender of any more material would be equivalent 
to a departure from neutrality ; and the Central Powers, 
which had already protested against the hght flotilla's 
passing into the hands of the Entente, would so regard it. 
Lastly, public opinion would never tolerate that Greece 
should so denude herself of arms as to be unable to defend 
herself in case of need. For all these reasons, the Hel- 
lenic Government categorically refused the Admiral's claim. ^ 

The Admiral felt keenly the iniquity of compelling a 
neutral country to give up, without conditions, the arms 
which constituted its safeguard at once against invasion 
and against insurrection. But what could he do ? He 
had his orders, and it was his duty to carry them out as 
soon as possible.^ So, making use of the plenary aiithority 

^ Mirbach, Szilassy, Passaroff, Ghalib Kemal}', Athens, 8/21 
Nov., 1916. 

2 Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 9/22 Nov., 191 6. 
Cp. Du Fournet,^pp. 192-4. 

2 Du Fournet,^p. 187. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 155 

thrust upon him, he retorted (24 Nov.) with an Uhimatum : 
ten mountain batteries should be handed over to him by 
I December at the latest, and the remainder by 15 Decem- 
ber. FaiHng obedience to his command, suitable steps 
would be taken on i December to enforce it. He declined 
to beheve that " the pubhc opinion of a country so enhght- 
ened as Greece could regard as intolerable the idea of 
handing over to Powers towards whom it professed a 
benevolent neutrality a stock of arms and munitions 
destined for the liberation of territory saturated with the 
noblest Greek blood : their place was, not at the bottom 
of magazines, but at the front. "^ 

There is always a limit beyond which human intelHgence 
cannot be insulted with success, or human patience tried 
with impunity. France had long since overstepped that 
limit. Across all the self-contradictory subtleties of her 
statesmen, the Greeks, thanks to the self-revealing acts of 
her soldiers, sailors, and agents, had discerned the real object 
of her diplomacy : to force upon them M. Venizelos and 
to rule them through him : she had already helped M. 
Venizelos to establish his sway over N.ew Greece, and was 
now attempting to extend it over Old Greece. The 
creation of a " neutral zone " did not blind them : they 
had only too much reason to know what neutraUty meant 
in the vocabulary of the Allies : they had taken the 
King's ships : all that remained was to take his arms 
and to hand them over to their protege. Such was the 
true significance of the fresh " pledges of friendship " 
claimed from them ; and the claim aroused unanimous 
indignation : we will not submit to any further robbery, 
they cried. What have we gained by submission so far ? 
Our conciliatory attitude towards the Allies and our 
efforts for a friendly settlement of the questions daily 
raised by them are regarded as signs of fear and rewarded 
accordingly : their arrogance increases with our compHance. 
No more compliance. The indignation was, naturally, 
most pronounced in military circles, and the officers of 
the Athens garrison took a vow to lay down their lives 
in defence of the King's and country's honour. 

Before pushing matters to extremes. Admiral Dartige 
called on the King (27 Nov.) and tried to intimidate him 
^ Du Fournet, pp. 197-9. 



156 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

by telling him that the Allied armada had Greece at its 
mercy, and that by simply cutting off the supplies of corn 
and coal it could break all resistance. The King agreed 
that the Allies possessed all-powerful means of persuasion, 
but did not seem as much impressed as was expected. He 
reminded the Admiral that he had done everything possible 
to prove his goodwill by spontaneously reducing his active 
army. He could do no more : the people and the army 
were so excited over this last demand that to make them 
accept it was beyond his power. The measure might be 
accepted, if the quantity claimed was lessened : he would 
take steps in that sense with the French Government 
through his brother, Prince George. It was clear that 
the King's change of tone arose from the absence of the 
guarantees which he had asked and hoped for : not having 
received those guarantees he considered himself released 
from the promises he had given. The x\dmiral understood 
the position perfectty, and in his heart did not blame the 
King for rejecting the " draconian pretension " that he 
should disarm while not secure that his arms would not 
be used against himself. But he had his orders and 
could only say that he meant to carry them out : on 
Friday morning, i December, he would impose the will 
of the Entente Governments. He still thought that the 
King would not resist " energetic pressure."^ 

Proportionate to their loyalty was the Athenians' ani- 
mosity against the Venizelists in their midst, who had 
long been plotting and arming in conjunction with the 
French, and preparing for one of those coups for w-hich 
Paris had set the fashion during a hundred years. Admiral 
Dartige had expressed his concern for these unhappy 
patriots to the King at his last interview, and on going 
from the Palace to the French Legation he found there 
the British Minister greatly alarmed because several 
important Venizelists had prayed him to obtain for them 
the Admiral's protection ; but no sooner had the Admiral 
acted on their prayer, than the panic-stricken patriots 
implored him not to protect them, lest the measures taken 
for their safety should cause their destruction. ^ How^ever, 
next day, the King assured the Admiral through his 
Marshal of the Court, that neither the persons nor the 
^ Du Fournet, pp. 201-4. ^ Du Fournet, pp. 202-3. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 157 

property of the Venizelists should suffer, on condition that 
neither the Entente Powers' detectives nor the detach- 
ments he was going to land indulged in arrests, deporta- 
tions, or disappearances of Greek subjects, and that the 
Venizelists themselves abstained from acts calculated to 
provoke reprisals.^ 

Such was the state of things created by the Admiral's 
Ultimatum. What would happen when the time-limit 
expired ? The inhabitants of Athens debated this question 
anxiously, and their anxiety was deepened by the sight 
of many disquieting symptoms : day after day Allied 
aeroplanes and automobiles carried out reconnaissances 
over the capital, paying special attention to the Royal 
Palace, intensifying the irritation of civilians and soldiers, 
and stiffening their resolution to resist, come what might. 

The Hellenic Government endeavoured to ward off the 
storm by remonstrating with the Governments of the 
Entente direct. As the Admiral's claim was presented ex- 
clusively in the name of France, it began with Paris. The 
answer was that King Constantine had promised to the 
French Government the war material demanded, and the 
French Government had promised in exchange to relax the 
coercive measures : since the Greek Government declared 
that it could not fulfil this promise, it must suffer the 
consequences. Paris, in Admiral Dartige's words, " wanted 
to reap the fruit of the Benazet negotiation without 
paying the price agreed to.'"^ Whatever London may 
have thought of this manoeuvre, it said that the British 
Government was in full knowledge of the French Admiral's 
steps and supported them. Petrograd was equally 
cognizant of the affair, and, as it was a question of military 
measures with which Russia could not interfere, advised 
Greece to comply, assuring her that " what was done was 
for her good."^ 

As a last resource, Greece appealed to neutral countries, 
describing the condition in which she had long found 
herself, because she was not strong enough to impose 
respect for her neutrality, and protesting against this 
latest demand as most injurious to her honour and sub- 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 208-g. 2 Dy Pournet, p. 205. 

^ Romanos, Paris, 15/28, 1O/29 Nov. ; Gennadius, London, 
16/29 Nov. ; Panas, Petrograd, 17/30 Nov., 1916. 



158 GREECE AND THE ALIJES 

versive of all her rights.^ The soUcitation remained 
fniitless. The great American Republic was too intimately 
connected with France and England to intervene on 
behalf of Greece. The small states knew too well from 
their own experience how frail are the foundations upon 
which rest the honour and the rights of weak neutrals in 
a world war. 

Nevertheless, firm in the knowledge that he had the 
vast majority of the nation behind him, M. Lambros, on 
30 November, by a final letter, declared to the French 
Admiral that his claim was utterly unacceptable. " I do 
not wdsh to believe," he concluded, " that, after examining 
in a spirit of goodwill and equity the reasons which render 
it impossible for the Greek people and its Government to 
give you satisfaction, you will proceed to measures which 
would be incompatible wth the traditional friendship 
between France and Greece, and which the people would 
justly regard as hostile acts."^ 

In face of Greece's unequivocal determination not to 
jdeld, the Admiral would have been well advised to insist 
with his Government on an amicable accommodation. 
He had not the means of carrying out his threats. It is 
true, his ships dominated the sea and their guns the 
capital ; but, since the Greeks were determined to stand 
another blockade and to risk the bombardment of their 
capital rather than surrender their arms, how could he 
take them without an army ? The problem had not 
escaped the worthy sailor. So grave a claim, he tells us, 
could not be enforced without war ; and the Entente 
Powers were not thinking of going to war with Greece. 
Therefore, he had hit on the expedient of giving to his 
action the name and, so far as the nature of the thing 
permitted, the character of a " pacific demonstration." 
Not one shot would be fired except in self-defence : the 
troops would not seek to seize the material by violence : 
they would simply occupy certain points of vantage until 
they received satisfaction. He admits that his confidence 
in the success of these tactics, since his last interview with 
the King, had suffered some diminution. But he still 

^ Zalocostas to Ministers of the United States, etc., Athens, 
14/27 Nov. 
2 Lambros to Dartige du Fournet, Athens, 17/30 Nov., 1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 159 

nourished a hope — based on the fact " that the Athens 
Government had always hitherto ended by bowing to our 
will."^ He overlooked the inflamed minds of the 
people. 

Before break of day, on i December, a body of marines 
some 3,000 weak landed at the Piraeus with machine-guns 
and marched on Athens in three columns, driving back 
the Greek patrols, which retired at their approach, and 
occupied some of the strategic positions aimed at without 
encountering any resistance. So far the pacific demonstra- 
tion lived up to its name. Both sides conformed to their 
respective orders, which were to avoid all provocation, 
and on no account to fire first. But for all that the situa- 
tion teemed with the elements of an explosion. Admiral 
Dartige, on landing, had noted the faces of the people : 
sullen and defiant, they faithfully reflected the anger 
which seethed in their hearts. And, about ii o'clock, at 
one point the smouldering embers burst into flame. How, 
it is not known : as usually happens in such cases, each 
side accused the other of beginning. Once begun, the 
fight spread along the whole line to the French head- 
quarters in the Zappeion. 

At the sound of shots. King Constantine caused a 
telephone message to be sent through the French Legation 
to the French flagship, asking for Admiral Dartige, to beg 
him to stop the bloodshed. The officer at the other end 
of the wire hesitated to disclose the Admiral's whereabouts, 
fearing a trap ; but at last he replied that his Chief had 
gone to the Zappeion, where indeed he was found shut up. 
A parley between that building and the Palace led to an 
armistice, during which negotiations for a peace were 
initiated by the Entente Ministers. In the middle of 
these, fighting broke out afresh ; according to the Royalists, 
through the action of the Venizelists who, desirous to 
profit by the foreign invasion in order to promote a domestic 
revolution, opened rifle fire from the windows, balconies, 
and roofs of certain houses upon the royal troops patrolling 
the streets : a statement more than probable, seeing that 
arms had long been stored in Venizelist houses with a 
view to such an enterprise. At the same time. Admiral 
Dartige, who seems to have completely lost his head, 
^ Du Fournet, p. 204. 



160 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

considering the armistice at an end, ordered the warships 
to start a bombardment. 

While shells fell upon the outlying quarters of the 
town, and even into the courtyard of the Royal Palace 
itself, forcing the Queen to put her children in the cellar, 
the Entente Ministers arrived to conclude the treaty : 

" Are these your arguments, gentlemen ? " asked the 
King, as he received them. Amid the general consterna- 
tion, he alone maintained his calmness. 

The conference went on to the accompaniment of 
whistling and bursting shells, and at 7 o'clock ended in an 
agreement, whereby Admiral Dartige consented to stop 
hostilities and accept the King's offer of six mountain 
batteries, in heu of the ten he had demanded ; the Entente 
Ministers undertaking to recommend to their Governments 
the abandonment of his other demands. 

There ensued an exchange of prisoners, and the retreat 
of the Allies to their ships during the night, followed next 
day by the detachment quartered at the Zappeion, and all 
the controllers of police, posts, telegraphs, telephones, and 
railways. Many of the ruffians in the pay of the Franco- 
British Secret Services anticipated this evacuation by 
slipping out of the capital which they had terrorized for 
nearly a year. 

And so the pacific demonstration was over, having cost 
the Greeks 4 officers and 26 men killed, and 4 officers and 
51 men wounded. The Alhed casualties were 60 killed, 
including 6 officers, and 167 wounded. 

For the rest, no epithet was less applicable to the affair 
than that of " Athenian Vespers," with which the Parisian 
press christened it. Admiral Dartige protests indignantly 
against the grotesque exaggerations of his imaginative 
compatriots. Apart from the tragic features natural to 
a pacific demonstration, he declares that the whole drama 
passed off as pleasantly as a drama could. Not a single 
Alhed subject was ill-treated. Not one shot was fired on 
the Legations of the Entente Powers, whose IMinisters and 
nationals, in the midst of it all, incurred only such danger 
as came from their own shells — shells showered upon an 
open town. Even the French bluejackets, who had long 
been a thorn in the very heart of Athens, were conducted 
back to their proper place under a Greek escort, ingloriously 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 161 

but safely. A like spirit, to a still higher degree, marked 
the treatment in Greek hospitals of the Allies* wounded, 
whose rapid recovery, says the Admiral, testified to the 
care which they received. " We assisted in a civil war : 
the Royalists struck in our marines the protectors of their 
political enemies."^ 

It was upon those enemies that RoyaUst wrath satiated 
itself. On 2 December, veritable battles took place in 
many parts of Athens ; suspect houses, hotels, offices, 
and shops being assailed and defended with murderous 
fury. The house of M. Venizelos, as was fitting, formed 
the centre of the conflict. Twenty Cretan stalwarts had 
barricaded themselves in it and held out until machine-guns 
persuaded them to surrender. Within was discovered a 
small arsenal of rifles, revolvers, hand-grenades, dynamite 
cartridges, fuses : among them a bundle of weapons still 
wrapped in the French canvas in which it had arrived. 
Tell-tale articles of a similar nature were discovered on 
the premises of other conspirators, who were led off to 
prison, pursued by crowds hooting, cursing, spitting at 
them, so that their escorts had the greatest difficulty in 
saving them from being lynched. Although not com- 
parable to parallel scenes witnessed by many a Western 
city under analogous circumstances, the event was an 
exhibition of human savagery sufficiently ugly in itself : 
it did not require the legends of massacre and torture with 
which it was embelHshed by pious journalists anxious to 
excite in the Allied publics sympathy for persons whom 
the AlHes' own advance had instigated to violence and 
their precipitate retreat had exposed to a not unmerited 
vengeance. 2 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 210-51 ; Paxton Hibben, pp. 440-80 ; Resumi 
du Rapport Official sur les Evenements du 18 novembre/i decembre, 
1916. 

2 According to the Hellenic Government, the losses of the 
Royalists in this civil strife amounted to 13 soldiers killed and 
24 wounded, 6 civilians killed and 6 wounded, besides 5 killed 
(including 3 women) and 6 wounded (including 4 women) by the 
insurgents accidentally ; the Venizelist losses were limited to 
3 killed and 2 wounded. — Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 
Athens, 27 Nov./io Dec, 1916. 



II 



CHAPTER XV 

BY 3 December calm had descended on Athens. 
But echoes of the storm continued reverberating 
in Paris and London. In Paris it was asserted, 
and in London repeated, that the French Admiral had 
fallen into a cunningly laid trap : King Constantine had 
promised to hand over his war material ; but when the 
Allies landed to receive it, he caused them to be treacher- 
ously attacked and murdered.^ On the strength of this 
assertion, the Entente newspapers demanded punishment 
swift and drastic : a prince who broke faith deserved no 
pity. His offer of six batteries was " an atonement " 
both cynical and inadequate for the " ambush " by which 
French and Enghsh blood had been spilt. Similarly the 
internecine strife of 2 December and the subsequent 
proceedings against the Venizelists were depicted as a 
wanton hunt of harmless and law-abiding citizens. Day 
by day the stream of calumny, assiduously fed from the 
fountain-head at Salonica, grew in volume and virulence ; 
and King Constantine was branded with every opprobrious 
epithet of liar, traitor, and assassin. 

These were weapons against which the King of Greece 
and his Government had nothing to oppose. They tried 
to explain the true nature of the abortive Benazet negotia- 
tion, shomng that, if there was any breach of faith, it was 
not on their part ; they denounced the falsehoods and 
the exaggerations relating to the suppression of the sedi- 
tious outbreak ; they asked that a mixed Commission 
should be appointed to conduct an impartial inquiry on 
the spot while the events were still fresh and evidence 
abundant. The French and British Press Censors took 
care that not a whisper of their defence should reach the 
French and British publics.^ Frenchmen and EngUshmen 
1 See Le Temps and The Times, 4 Dec, 1916. 
^ Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Petrograd, 
Rome, 24 N0V./7 Dec. ; 25 Nov./S Dec. ; 26 N0V./9 Dec. 

162 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 163 

might hear of M. Venizelos's deeds through his friends. 
They were allowed to hear of the King's only through his 
enemies. It was clear that the policy which had prompted 
the disastrous enterprise of i December had not yet 
worked itself out to its full issue. 

Admiral Dartige could not very well endorse the breach 
of faith legend. He knew that the engagement about the 
delivery of arms was reciprocal, and that, as France had 
failed to ratify it on her part, King Constantine rightly 
considered himself free from all obhgations on his part. 
He also knew that, far from being lured into landing by 
false assurances of surrender, he had been emphatically 
warned against it by categorical refusals and intimations 
of resistance. Yet, human nature being what it is, the 
honest sailor, maddened by his discomfiture, called the 
inevitable collision a " guet-apens " and, even whilst 
negotiating for release, he meditated revenge. 

To him the peace arranged through the instrumentahty 
of the Entente Ministers was but a " sorte d' armistice." 
He had agreed to it only in order to extricate himself from 
his present difficulties and to gain time for resuming 
hostilities under more favourable conditions. He and his 
men, he tells us with an engaging candour, were at the 
mercy of the Greeks : had he not accepted the King's 
offer — outnumbered, surrounded, and without food or 
water for more than twenty-four hours — ^they would have 
been ignominiously arrested. Besides, the configuration 
of the ground sheltered the Greek troops from the naval 
fire, while the Legations both of the Entente and of neutral 
Powers lay exposed to it. Lastly, a continued bombard- 
ment might have driven the Greeks to exasperation and 
perhaps to a massacre of Entente Ministers and subjects. 
It was imperative to give the Allies and neutrals time for 
flight and himself for serious war preparations. The 
dehvery of the whole stock of arms had been fixed by his 
Ultimatum for 15 December. In that fortnight he pro- 
posed to obtain from his Government the forces necessary 

28 Nov./ii Dec; Metaxas, Paris, 24 Nov./? Dec; 2/15 Dec. 
Delyannis, London, 3/16 Dec, 1916. The documents containing 
the King's promises to M. Benazet were not pubUshed until 191 8 
(see The Times, April 22, 1918) ; while those containing M. Benazet's 
promises to the King became known only through the publication 
of Admiral Dartige du Fournet's book in 1920. 



16A GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

for a battle, and permission to bombard Athens in earnest 
— ^witli or without notice to its inhabitants, but, of course, 
always with due regard for its monuments historiques. 

Such was his plan. General Sarrail embraced it with 
ardour ; the Paris Government sanctioned it ; troops 
began to arrive and French and British residents to flee 
{3-5 Dec). But very soon difficulties became manifest. 
The transports had brought men and mules, but no provi- 
sions for either. Greek volunteers and regulars mustered 
in defence of their capital. The British Admiral decHned 
to take part in any war operations. The French Minister 
dreaded open hostihties. In the circumstances, Admiral 
Dartige found it expedient to " give proof of his spirit 
of self-denial," by renouncing his heroic dream of vengeance 
" immediate, retentissante," and by advising Paris not to 
set up a new front at Athens : after all, the matter was 
not really worth a war. He now proposed, instead, a 
pacific blockade ; and, Paris assenting, he proclaimed the 
blockade as from 8 December.^ 

With this act Admiral Dartige du Fournet's career came 
to a sudden end. A few days later the French Government 
deprived him of his command and placed him on the 
retired list. After a decent interval, the British Govern- 
ment decorated him with the Grand Cross of the Bath.^ 
Whether his conduct entitled him to a decoration, his 
character should certainly have saved him from disgrace ; 
for of all the men engaged in these transactions, he seems 
to have been the most respectable. No impartial reader 
of his book can fail to see that he blundered because he 
moved in the dark : it was never explained to him what 
pohtical designs lay beneath the pretended military 
necessities ; and the constant incongruity between the 
avowed aims of his employers and the steps dictated by 
his instructions tended to bewilder a mind devoid of all 
aptitude or appetite for diplomacy. 

Admiral Dartige gone, the blockade was carried on by 
his successor. Admiral Gauchet. The Greeks took it as 
an accustomed evil. " This measure," wrote one of their 

1 Du Fournet, pp. 226-9, 234, 256-7, 260-2, 266, 269-72. 

^ Du Fournet, pp. 272-4, 284-5. He complains bitterly of the 
injustice of his treatment : he was condemned unheard — like King 
Constantine ; and for a similar reason : " un debal large et public 
aurait etabli toutes les responsabilites." 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 165 

leading journals, " cannot terrify a population which has 
faced with serenity and fortitude much greater dangers. 
The Hellenic people did not hesitate, when the need arose, 
to come into collision with four Great Powers in defence 
of its independence and honour. It did so without hate, 
without perturbation, but calmly, as one performs an 
imposed and unavoidable duty. It dehberately chose to 
risk annihilation rather than see its fatherland disarmed 
and enslaved. It preferred a hopeless struggle to degrada- 
tion. To-day it is threatened with the spectre of famine. 
It will face that spectre with serenity and fortitude. The 
menace is aimed at its stomach : very well, the people will 
tighten its belt."^ 

At the same time, Paris, London, and Petrograd were 
vigorously discussing the demands which were to be 
enforced by the blockade ; but, owing to the wide diver- 
gences of opinion existing between the various Cabinets, 
decisions could only be reached by degrees and dealt out 
by doses. Not until 14 December did the Entente 
Governments deliver themselves of the first-fruit of their 
travail : Greece was to keep the arms of which she could 
not be despoiled, but she should remove them, as well as 
her army, from the northern regions bordering on Mace- 
donia. The Hellenic Government was given twenty-four 
hours in which to comply ; refusal would constitute an 
act of hostihty, and the Allied Ministers would forthwith 
leave Athens. ^ 

To show that they were in earnest, the French and 
British Ministers embarked on two ships moored at the 
Piraeus, where they awaited the Hellenic Government's 
reply ; and, before the time-limit expired, the French 
Admiral, by a notice put up at the Piraeus town-hall, 
warned the inhabitants to close their shops and retire to 
their homes by 4 p.m. in view of an impending bombard- 
ment of Athens. 

The Hellenic Government acceded to the contents of 
the Ultimatum, and immediately gave orders for the 
removal of troops and war material.^ This prompt 
compliance was received by the people of Greece with 

^ The Nea Himera, 25 Nov./S Dec, 1916. 

2 Guillemin, Elliot, Bosdari, Demidoff, Athens, 1/14 Dec, 1916. 
2 Zalocostas to the Legations of France, England, Italy, and 
Russia. Athens, 2/15 Dec, 1916. 



16C GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

loud disapproval. They criticized vehemently their rulers' 
readiness to yield as pusillanimous and injudicious. The 
Government, they said, instead of profiting by the events 
of I December to clear up the situation, drifts back into 
the path of concessions which led to those fatal events : 
it encourages the Entente Powers to put forward increas- 
ingly exorbitant pretensions, and, forgetting that it is for 
us to complain and claim better treatment, it creates the 
impression that they are in the right and we in the wrong. 
For some time past such had been the tone even of moderate 
critics ; and upon this fresh submission there was a 
general outcry of alarm. It is true, the Alhes in their 
Note averred that they demanded the removal of troops 
and guns simply and solely " in order to secure their forces 
against an attack." But the Greeks were less inclined 
than ever to treat the alleged danger to the Allied army 
in ]\Iacedonia as anything more than a pretext : the true 
object, they maintained, was to secure M. Venizelos's 
return and the expulsion of King Constantine. 

The conduct of the Entente representatives hitherto 
had given only too much ground for such bitter suspicions, 
and the search of Venizehst houses had recently produced 
concrete evidence, in the form of a letter from the Leader 
to one of his adherents stating, among other things, that 
a definite agreement concluded between him and the 
representatives of the Entente Powers assured his speedy 
domination of Athens through the whole strength of the 
Entente. The pubhcation of this document, with a 
photographic facsimile,^ had confirmed the apprehensions 
which had long haunted the popular mind. Nor did 
M. Venizelos's indignant denial of its authenticity, or the 
Entente Ministers' emphatic protestation that never, 
since the Cretan's departure from Athens, had they done 
anything to facilitate his return, shake the conviction that 
the big coup was planned for i December. 

If any doubts as to the Alhes' ulterior aims still Ungered, 
they were dispelled by their Press, the most serious organs 
of which, on the eve of Admiral Dartige's landing, pointedly 
referred to the great error committed by the Powers in 
allowing King Constantine to dismiss M. Venizelos in 
September, 1915, and urged that the time had come to 
* The Nea Himera, 21 N0V./4 Dec, 1916. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 167 

remedy that error, informing their readers that England, 
France and Russia were not bound to guarantee the 
possession of the Greek throne to any individual sovereign, 
irrespective of his constitutional behaviour. The coup 
having failed, the same organs, in commenting on the 
Allies' present Ultimatum, still declared that the true 
remedy for Greece was to place her under the control of 
M. Venizelos ; but, as such a course was not possible in 
the presence of a hostile King and an over-excited army, 
the first necessity was to ehminate the Greek army.^ 

However, the Greeks submitted to it all with sullen 
resignation : they had learned that the wisest thing for 
the weak is to control themselves. 

The next step remained with the Entente Governments, 
who were exhorted by their Press organs not to be deluded 
by King Constantine's concessions. For it was one of 
the ironies of the situation that, while his own subjects 
blamed the King for his conciUatory attitude, that attitude 
was denounced by his enemies as a fresh instance of 
duplicity. They aihrmed — ^with what amount of accuracy 
will appear in the sequel — that this great deceiver was 
making, in concert with the Kaiser, stealthy preparations 
for war against the Allies, and that meanwhile he intended 
by a semblance of submission to lull them into a false 
security. Extreme measures were, therefore, needed, not 
only to punish him for his past crimes, but also to prevent 
Greece from becoming a base of hostile operations in the 
near future. 

Thus certain in advance of pubUc support, the Alhes, 
on 31 December, served upon the Hellenic Government a 
series of demands divided into guarantees and reparations. 
Under the first heading, Greece was required to transfer 
all her arms and munitions to the Peloponnesus, which, 
being practically an island, could be guarded by the Allied 
Fleet ; to forbid all Reservist meetings north of the 
Peloponnesus ; to enforce rigorously the law prohibiting 
civihans from carrying arms ; to admit the re-establish- 
ment of the foreign controls over her police, telegraphs, 
telephones, and railways. Under the second, all persons 
detained on charges of high-treason, conspiracy, and 
sedition, should be immediately released, and those who 
1 See leading articles in The Times, 30 Nov., 16 Dec, 1916. 



168 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

had suffered indemnified ; the General commanding the 
Athens garrison on i December should be cashiered ; 
formal apologies should be tendered to the Allied Ministers 
and their flags pubhcly saluted in the presence of the 
assembled garrison. On their part, the Powers gave 
Greece a formal undertaking that they would not allow the 
forces of the Salonica Government to take advantage of 
the withdrawal of the Royal troops from Thessaly in order 
to cross the neutral zone. They ended with the announce- 
ment that the blockade would be maintained until satis- 
faction had been accorded on all the above points, and 
that they reserved to themselves full hberty of further 
action should the attitude of the King's Government give 
them fresh cause for complaint.^ 

Before returning a definite answer to this Note, the 
Hellenic Government submitted a Memorandum by which 
it promised forthwith the reparations demanded, except 
the wholesale release without trial of pohtical prisoners ; 
and accepted in principle the demand for guarantees on 
condition that the Powers, on their part, should give an 
absolute and irrevocable guarantee against the extension 
of the revolutionary movement, not only across the 
neutral zone, but over any territories which had not been 
annexed by the Salonica Committee before i December, 
pointing out that this was an indispensable requisite to 
reassure the nation and induce it to acquiesce in total 
disarmament. In conclusion, the Hellenic Government 
expressed the hope that, as total disarmament would put 
Greece out of all possibiHty of hurting the Allies, they 
would renounce the Hberty of further action which they 
had reserved to themselves, and that they would, in justice 
to the people, raise the blockade. ^ 

In reply, the AUies launched another Ultimatum : 
insisting upon the definite acceptance of their demands. 
If such acceptance were not forthcoming within fortj'-eight 
hours, or if, after an undertaking was given, any obstacles 
were wilfully placed in its execution, they threatened to 
have recourse to their military and naval weapons. On 
the other hand, they promised to respect Greece's resolution 

^ Guillemin, Elliot, Demidoff, Piraeus, 18/31 Dec, 1916. 
2 Zalocostas to Legations of France, England and Russia, Athens, 
23 Dec./5 Jan., 191 7. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 169 

to keep out of the War, and pledged themselves not to 
allow the adherents of the Salonica Government to take 
advantage of the withdrawal of the Greek troops into the 
Peloponnesus in order to invade by land or by sea any 
part whatever of Greek territory thus left defenceless, or 
to permit the installation of Venizelist authorities in any 
territories actually in the possession of the Royal Govern- 
ment which they might see fit to occupy hereafter for 
miUtary reasons. Lastly, they signified their readiness 
to raise the blockade as soon as special delegates should 
judge that the evacuation of troops and material had 
been partly carried out, and that its completion was 
assured.^ 

These pledges, which had been the subject of acute 
discussion between the AlHes at the Rome Conference, 
and were carried in face of strong opposition from France, 
marked another victory of moderation over consistency. 
That they lessened the alarm of the Greek people may be 
doubted ; but the Greek people had by this time found 
that if it wanted, not only to hve at peace, but to exist at 
all, it had to accept the situation on the AlUes' own 
terms. 

As to the rulers, they understood the popular feeling, 
sympathized with it, shared it. But their powerlessness 
prevented them from refusing terms which their pride 
compelled them to resent. They could not entertain 
seriously thoughts of active resistance, unless the AlHes 
were attacked by the Germans ; but how little prospect 
of this there was has been revealed by a number of messages 
exchanged at that period between Athens and Berlin. 
From these documents it appears that on 6 December the 
Queen, whose indignation at the long-sustained persecution 
had been brought to a head by the bombardment of her 
home and the narrow escape of her children, telegraphed 
to her brother, anxiously inquiring when the Germans 
would be ready for a decisive offensive in Macedonia. On 
i6 December the Kaiser rephed to his sister, condoling 
with her on the ordeal she and her husband had gone 
through, congratulating them on the courage they had 
displa3'ed, pointing out that the Entente had once more 

1 Guillemin, Bosdani, Demidoff, Erskine, Salamis Strait, 26 Dec./ 
8 Jan., 1917. 



170 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

shown clearly what its real aims were, and expressing the 
opinion that no other course was left to King Constantine 
but " to turn openly on his executioners : Tino's inter- 
vention with his main forces against Sarrail's left wing 
would be decisive," he said. The Queen answered, on 
26 December, that the solution the Kaiser advised would 
be possible only if Sarrail, attacked by the Germans, were 
forced to retire into the parts of Greece occupied by the 
Royalists : as it was, the distance which separated his left 
\\ang from them was too great and their lines of communi- 
cation would be too much exposed : besides, their provi- 
sions and munitions were not sufficient for a prolonged 
struggle. Under these conditions, she added, only a 
speedy attack by the Germans could afford Greece the 
opportunity of fighting for deUverance from a frightful 
situation. But Von Hindenburg did not see his way to 
promise an attack. Meanwhile, the pressure of the 
blockade increased. By 2 January, the Queen, as her 
indignation cooled, prepared to resign herself to the 
situation : " We have bread only for a few da^'s more, 
other provisions are also running short," she telegraphed, 
" consequently war against the Entente is out of the 
question now. I consider the game lost." Her husband 
concurred. ^ 

The King and his Ministers also knew that, unless they 
accepted the AlHes' terms, worse would be forced upon 
them by starvation. Clearly, the first thing to be done 
was to have the blockade raised. So far the httle ship 
had contended \\-ith the gale hardily — in fact, foolhardily 
— coming out of the contest with scarce a sail. Captain 
and crew at last decided to give up the unequal struggle : 
the gale appeared to have almost spent itself : conversa- 
tions for peace were at that moment in progress between 
the belligerents : at the worst, things would go on much 
as they had been going on, until the end of the War put 
an end to the sorry drama. So, on 10 January, after an 
all-night sitting of the Crown Council, Greece made her 

^ In his one message (6 January) he dwelt on Greece's critical 
condition, asldng if a German attack was intended, and when it 
would probably take place. Such is the gist of these famous 
telegrams. For the rest, they consist of allusions by the Queen to 
her sufferings and appropriate epithets applied to the authors of 
them. See White Book, Nos. 177 foil. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 171 

unconditional surrender : she would drain the cup of 
humiliation to its bitterest dregs. ^ 

To all seeming, the pledges given by both sides formed 
a solid basis for a modus vivendi : the King gave guarantees 
thoroughly safeguarding the Allies against any danger, 
real or imaginary ; and the AHies gave guarantees equally 
safeguarding the King against seditious intrigues. All 
that remained was that the Allies should exact from the 
King a fulfilment of his engagements, and fulfil their own. 
They did not fail in the first part of the programme. The 
transfer of troops and armaments to the Peloponnesus was 
scrupulously carried out under the supervision of an 
Allied Military Commission, which counted and examined 
every man, every gun, every rifle and cartridge both at 
the point of departure and at the point of arrival. The 
Reservists' leagues were dissolved, and the people, in so 
far as such a measure is possible, were compelled to give 
up the firearms, mostly obsolete, in their possession. The 
foreign Controls, so far as the Hellenic Government was 
concerned, might be re-established at the Allies' discretion. 
The Venizelist prisoners were set free, and a mixed Com- 
mission was in due course appointed to deal with the 
question of indemnities. The General commanding the 
Athens garrison was cashiered. Formal apologies were 
tendered to the AUies' Ministers, and their flags were 
saluted with all the solemnities prescribed by themselves. 
In brief, on the unanimous testimony of Entente diploma- 
tists and publicists, Greece loyally fulfilled every one of 
her obhgations, serious and frivolous. ^ Yet, despite her 
Government's reiterated prayers that the blockade should 
in accordance with the promise given, be raised, the 
blockade was not only continued, but, as the months 
dragged on, was intensified. 

1 Zalocostas to Legations of France, England, Italy and KHSsia, 
28 Dec./io Jan., 1917. 

* See Th» Times, 20, 23, 24, 30 Jan., 191 7. 



CHAPTER XVI 

AMONG the acts sanctioned by International Law, 
none is more worthy of a philosopher's or a philan- 
^thropist's attention than the " pacific blockade." 
The credit for the institution belongs to all the great 
civilised communities, but for its pleasant designation the 
world is indebted to the eminent jurist M. Hautefeuille — 
a countryman of the ingenious Dr. Guillotin. It denotes 
" a blockade exercised by a gi^eat Power for the purpose of 
bringing pressure to bear on a weaker State, without 
actual war. That it is an act of violence, and therefore 
in the nature of war, is undeniable " ;^ but, besides its 
name, it possesses certain features which distinguish it 
advantageously from ordinary war. 

First, instead of the barbarous effusion of blood and swift 
destruction which open hostilities entail, the pacific 
blockade achieves its ends by more refined and leisurely 
means : one is not shocked by the unseemly sights of a 
battlefield, and the \vielder of the weapon has time to watch 
its effects as they develop : he can see the victim going 
through the successive stages of misery — debility, languor, 
exhaustion — until the final point is reached ; and as his 
scientific curiosity is gratified by the gradual manifestation 
of the various symptoms, so his moral sense is fortified by 
the struggle between a proud spirit and an empty stomach 
— than which life can offer no more ennobling spectacle. 
Then, unfike crude war, the pacific blockade automatically 
strikes the nation at which it is aimed on its weakest side 
first : instead of having to begin with its manhood, one 
begins with its old men, its women, and its infants. The 
merits of this form of attack are e\ident : many a man who 
would boldly face starvation himself, may be reasonably 
expected to flinch at the prospect of a star%'ing mother, 

1 See the article on " Pacific Blockade " in the Encyclopcsdia 
Britannica (loth Ed.), Vol. XXXI. p. 401. 

172 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 173 

wife, or child. Lastly, whilst in war the assailant must 
inevitably suffer as well as inflict losses, the pacific blockade 
renders him absolutely exempt from all risk. For " it 
can only be employed as a measure of coercion by mari- 
time Powers able to bring into action such vastly superior 
forces to those the resisting State can dispose of, that 
resistance is out of the question."^ 

In brief, the pacilic blockade is not war, but a kind of 
sport, as safe as coursing, and to the educated mind much 
more interesting. The interest largely depends on the 
duration of the blockade, and its duration on the victims' 
physical and moral resources. 

When the blockade was proclaimed on the 8th of Decem- 
ber, Allied journalists predicted that its persuasive force 
would be felt very soon. The country, they reasoned, 
owing to the manifold restrictions imposed upon its over- 
seas trade by the Anglo-French Fleet, had been on short 
commons for some time past. The total stoppage of 
maritime traffic would bring it to the verge of famine within 
a week. And, in fact, before the end of the month Greece 
was feeling the pinch. ^ As might have been expected, 
the first to feel it were the poor. Both the authorities and 
private societies did their utmost to protect them by 
keeping prices down, and to relieve them by the free dis- 
tribution of food and other necessaries.^ But, although 
the achievement was great, it could not prove equal to the 
dimensions of the need. The stoppage of all maritime 
traffic caused a cessation of industry and threw out of 
employment thousands of working-people. As the fac- 
tories grew empty of labourers, the streets grew full of 
beggars. The necessary adulteration of the flour pro- 
duced epidemics of dysentery and poisoning, especially 
among children and old people, while numerous deaths 
among infants were attributed by the doctors to want of 
milk in their mothers' breasts. Presently bread, the 
staple food of the Greeks, disappeared, and all classes took 

1 Ibid. 

2 The Times, g, 19, 21, 30 Dec, 1916. 

' Among these charitable organizations the foremost place 
belongs to the " Patriotic League of Greek Women," which, under 
the competent management of the Queen, was able to distribute 
10,000 meals a day, as well as clothes, blankets, medicine, milk for 
infants, etc. 



174 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to carob-beans and herbs. ^ On 22 February a lady of 
the highest Athenian society wrote to a friend in London : 
" If we were in England, we should all be fined for cruelty 
to animals. As there is no flour, our tiny portions of 
bread are made of oats, and rather rotten ones, that had 
been reserv^ed for the cab-horses. Now the poor things 
have nothing to eat and have become a collection of 
Apocalyptic beasts. We go on foot as much as we can, 
as they really could not carry us." 

Next to bread, the most prominent article of Greek diet 
is fish. The French, who in their treatment of this neutral 
nation gave e\idence of a thoroughness and efficiency 
such as they did not always display in their operations 
against the enemy, saw to it that this source of subsistence 
also should, within the measure of their ability, fail their 
victims. French cruisers stopped the fishing-smacks and 
asked if their community had joined the Rebellion. When 
the answer was in the negative, they sank the vessel and 
confiscated the tackle, often accompan3ing the robbery 
of property \\dth violence on the persons of the owners and 
abuse of their sovereign. To the wretched fishermen's 
protests, the French commanders replied : "If you 
want to be left alone, you have only to drive out j'^our 
King. "2 

These speeches confirmed the general suspicion that the 
ultimate object of the blockade was to propagate rebelhon. 
Other things spoke even more eloquently. The few 
cargoes of flour that arrived in Greece now and then were 
sequestered by the Allies and sent to the Salonica Govern- 
ment, which used them as a bait, inviting the King's 
subjects through its agents to sell their allegiance for a loaf 
of bread. Generally the reply was : " We prefer to die."^ 
Of this stubborn endurance, the women of modern Greece 
gave instances that recall the days of ancient Sparta. In 
a village near Eleusis, on the Sunday preceding Lent, the 
matrons and maidens set up a dance, and while dancing 
they improvised songs in praise of Hunger. At the end, 

^ Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 25 JaD./7 Feb. ; 3/16 
Feb. ; 12/25 March, 1917. 

2 Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 3/16 Feb. ; to French 
Minister at Athens, 16/29 March, 191 7. 

3 Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 25 Jan./7 Feb. ; 15/28 
Feb. ; 12/25 March. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 175 

the men who stood round Hstening with tears in their eyes, 
burst into frenetic cheers for the King.^ 

Never, indeed, in the hour of his triumphs had King 
Constantine been so near the hearts of his people as he was 
in this period of their common affliction. Although the 
operation-wounds in his ribs were still open, he met the 
emergency with dauntless fortitude, and never for a 
moment forgot his part, either as a prince or as a man. 
" The King is wonderful," wrote the correspondent already 
quoted. " He never complains, and gives us all courage." 
Many a time, as the weary months dragged on, he went 
over his past course, asking himself : " Could he have been 
mistaken, after all ? " No ; the more he pondered, the 
more convinced he felt that what he had done was the best 
for Greece. Now, if the worst came to the worst, his 
sincerity at least could not be questioned. When his 
friends ventured to express their admiration of his stoicism, 
he answered simply : "I know that I am doing right." 
The great source whence he derived consolation amidst all 
his calamities was undoubtedly this consciousness of 
rectitude : a sense which in him seems to have been as 
free from arrogance as it was from rancour. 

The people who had formerly admired their sovereign as 
a hero, now revered him as a martjn" ; and the man upon 
whom they visited their anger was he whom they regarded 
as the true cause of their misery. After his flight to 
Salonica M. Venizelos was never mentioned except by the 
name of The Traitor ; after the events of i December 
he was formally impeached as one ; and after the blockade 
had been in force for some weeks, he was solemnly anathe- 
matized : on 26 December, the Archbishop of Athens, 
from a cairn of stones in the midst of a great multitude, 
pronounced the curse of the Church upon " the traitor, 
Venizelos." The Government had forbidden the demon- 
stration, but that did not prevent myi-iads of people from 
going to add their own stone to the monument. ^ One 
old woman was heard, as she cast her contribution, crying : 
" We made him Premier ; but he was not content. He 
would make himself king. Anathema !" Subsequently, 
every village and hamlet repeated the ceremony. " These 

^ The Nea Himera, 15/28 Feb., 1917. 

^ Zalocostas to Greek Legations abroad, 14/27 Dec, 1916. 



176 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

spontaneous ceremonies," observes an eye-witness, " were 
vastly more indicative than any elections could ever have 
been of the place to which the great Cretan had fallen in 
the esteem of his countrymen."^ 

Appeals from the Holy Sjiiod of the Greek Church to 
the Pope and the heads of other Christian Churches 
availed as little as the appeals of the Greek Government 
to Alhed and neutral Governments. Month after month 
the blockade went on, and each month produced its own 
tale of suffering : deaths due directly to starvation ; 
diseases due to the indirect effects of inanition ; a whole 
nation wasting for want of food ; horses starved to provide 
it ; mothers praying to God for their daily bread with 
baizes drooping at their desiccated bosoms.- Yet of 
yielding there was no sign : " Give in ? " said a woman 
outside a soup-kitchen at the Piraeus, in March. " We 
will eat our children first ! " 

In such a manner this ancient race, which has lived so 
long, done so much, and suffered so much, bore its martyr- 
dom. By such an exercise of self -discipline it defied the 
Powers of Ci\alisation to do their worst. In spite of the 
licence given to brute force, in spite of the removal of the 
machinery of civil control, in spite of the internment of 
the army and its arms, in spite of the ostentatiously 
paraded support to the Rebel, in spite of actual famine 
and the threat of imminent ruin, the people held to the 
institutions of their country, rallied to their King ; and 
expressed their scorn for the usurper of his authority by 
inscribing over the graves of their babies : " Here hes my 
child, starved to death by Venizelos." 

^ Paxton Hibben, p. 522. 

2 The Censorship succeeded in keeping these facts, as it kept many 
others, from the British public ; they were not suitable subjects 
for war propaganda. 



CHAPTER XVII 

IT seems now proper to return to M. Venizelos and to 
consider in some detail the other measures which he 
and his patrons at this time adopted for the purpose 
of consolidating and extending his dominion. 

As we have seen, shortly after the Cretan's installation 
at Salonica, the Entente Powers, by a diplomatic fiction, 
decided to treat his Committee as a de facto Government. 
It was not until his countr5nTien impeached him as a 
traitor that the recognition assumed a de jure character, 
by the appointment of duly accredited diplomatic agents 
to his capital. These steps were accompanied by other 
marks of sympathy. While the Allies negotiated with 
the King, their naval commanders canvassed for M. 
Venizelos— sweeping islands under his sway : Syra was 
first shepherded into the fold, and a little later the rest 
of the Cyclades. 

A brief suspension of operations supervened as a result 
of the solemn promise given to Athens that the Allies 
would neither by land nor by sea allow the extension of the 
revolutionary movement. For an instant the Entente 
respected its own pledges. Just before the surrender of 
the Lambros Cabinet, on lo January, the Cretan had 
rushed to estabUsh another accomphshed fact by liberating 
the island of Cerigo ; but, on the Government's protest, 
the Allies obliged him to undo his accompHshment ; 
though, on the plea that the island would resent being 
replaced under King Constantine's yoke, it was made 
temporarily autonomous.^ 

Soon, however, these pledges went the way of all words. 
Between February and May, Cephalonia, Zante, and Corfu 

1 Zalocostas to Greek Legations, Paris, London, Rome, Petrograd, 
30 Dec./i2 Jan. ; to Entente Legations, Athens, 19 Jan./i Feb. ; 
8/21 March, 1917. For a full and intimate account of this intrigue, 
somewhat ambitiously styled " The Conquest of Cerigo," see Lawson, 
pp. 241 foil. 

12 177 



178 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

were converted one by one : everyv^'here the apostles from 
Salonica preaching, " Be our brethren or die of hunger " ; 
and every\vhere having behind them the guns of France 
and England to enforce respect for their gospel. The 
instance of Leucas, the last of the Ionian Isles to be 
gathered into the fold, will suffice as an illustration. In 
the middle of March a French vessel, carrying a consign- 
ment of maize, rice, and Venizelist missionaries, called at 
the island and in\dted the inhabitants to come, buy, and 
be saved : they answered that they would never touch 
food brought by traitors. Towards the end of May, the 
French Admiral commanding the Ionian Reserve was able 
to announce that the Leucadian population had joined the 
National Movement.^ 

To secure his authority over these maritime possessions, 
the Cretan obtained from his patrons some of the warships 
of which they had robbed the King. 

A similar propaganda was simultaneously going on in 
the " neutral zone " and in the lands to the south of it — 
particularly Thessaly — whose immunity from emancipation 
the Allies had also guaranteed. Only, as this region lay 
nearer to the base of the Franco- Venizehst Mission, it 
benefited more severely from its influence. General 
Sarrail's patrols raided the \allages, harrjnng the peasants 
and sparing not even the honour of their women. Anyone 
who knows the Greek peasant's fierce views on feminine 
chastity can imagine the indignation which such an 
outrage would have aroused in any case ; but in this case 
their horror was deepened by the circumstance that the 
assailants sometimes were African semi-savages — ^the 
Senegalese whom France brought to Greece, as to other 
parts of Europe, obHvious of the most rudimentary dictates 
of decency and sound policy. On one occasion (22 Feb.) 
the coloured libertines paid for their lust with their lives : 
a patrol of a dozen of them was surprised and massacred. ^ 

Summary executions were among the methods of 

1 Zalocostas to Greek Ministers abroad, 12/25 March ; The Nea 
H inter a, 8/21 March; Exchange Tel., Athens, 16 April, 28 May, 

1917- 

2 General Sarrail mentions the punishment (Sarrail, p. 235), but 
not the provocation. This, together with other atrocities, is the 
subject of a Note from M. Zalocostas to the French Minister at 
Athens, 9/22 March, 191 7. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 179 

military tyranny in which General Sarrail rejoiced without 
scruple and with a certain brutal pride. When once he 
found himself obliged to justify his conduct, he wrote : 
" The six inhabitants of Dianitza, who were shot, were 
Comitadjis. There is no doubt in that respect. Doubt 
still exists about eight others. If they are proved to be 
in the same case as the former, they will be shot in the 
same way. The two men shot at Lourani were put to 
death because they were known to be Comitadjis. The 
other two, whose houses were burnt down, are likewise 
Comitadjis : they would have been shot, if they were not 
away : they shall be, if they are caught. If a church has 
been burnt down, it was because it had been transformed 
into a magazine for arms. If barley has been carried 
away, it has been paid for or requisitioned." After some 
more statements of the same enlightening kind, the gallant 
soldier concludes : "To sum up, the Greek Government 
organizes bands and maintains them. The security of 
our Army in the Orient exacts their suppression, I have 
given orders to put to death all irregulars. These orders 
have been carried out : they shall continue to be carried 
out."i 

It was by precisely similar arguments that General von 
Bissing justified his severities in Belgium : with this 
difference, that in Greece the danger never existed. 
Comitadjis — bands of irregulars — did exist ; it would have 
been strange if the adherents of the King had not done 
everything to counter the efforts of his enemies. Long 
before this period the French Secret Service, Admiral 
Dartige du Fournet tells us, had been busy equipping 
guerillas on the frontier. ^ Further, in the mainland, as 
in the islands, the Venizelist recruiting sergeants sought 
" volunteers " by force : " How many villages had to be 
surrounded by constabulary. . . . How much shooting 
had to be done to keep the men of military age from 
escaping. . . . How many deserters or those unwilling 
to serve had to be rounded up from hiding places ! " 
exclaims General Sarrail.^ Some of the recruits thus 
enlisted snatched at the earliest opportunity of regaining 

^ Le Temps, ii April, 1917 ; Sarrail, pp. 236-7. 

* Du Fournet, p. 116. 

^ " La Grece Vinizeliste," in the Rtvue de Paris, 15 Dec, 1919, 



180 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

their freedom : they fell in during the day, and at night 
they fled with their arms. 

The assertion that these bands were organized and 
maintained by the Greek Government to harass the Allies 
and keep the line of communication with Albania open, 
with a \dew to an eventual junction between the forces of 
King Constantine and those of the German Emperor, 
rested on evidence which, for some obscure reason, was 
not produced.^ But it suppHed pretexts for action the 
true objects of which were not obscure. 

Despite his press-gangs, in six months M. Venizelos had 
only succeeded in sending to the front some 10,000 men. 
He explained to his Western friends that he had failed to 
fulfil their expectations better because the neutral zone 
barred the extension of his movement into Thessaly.^ 
He had respected that zone until now ; but now that the 
AlHes gave him a free hand over the sea, he saw no longer 
any reason why they should restrain him on land. There- 
fore, while the agents from Macedonia goaded the inhabi- 
tants to seek rest in apostacy and provoked incidents 
supplying an excuse for intervention, the advocates of 
I\I. Venizelos in Paris and London laboured to clear his 
way by pubHshing reports which told how the people of 
Thessaly pra^^ed for Hberation from the yoke of King 
Constantine, 3 and exhausted their ingenuity in endeavours 
to show the Entente pubhcs how to break faith with 
honour and decency, as well as \\ith advantage. 

The victualling of the Allied army in Macedonia, always 
difficult, had become distressingly precarious with its own 
growth and the growth of the enemy's submarine activity. 
Were the Allies to go on transporting food and fodder 
from distant lands across dangerous seas, with the rich 
cornfields of Thessaly within short and safe reach of their 
trenches ? The seizure of the Thessahan granary, besides 

1 Such a project is only discussed in some of the messages ex- 
changed between Athens and BerUn in December, 191 6 {White 
Book, Nos. 177, 183, 186) — before the definite acceptance of the 
Allies' terms by the Lambros Cabinet. But there is absolutely 
nothing to show that the idea ever materialised. 

2 The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7. 

3 See telegrams, dated Salonica, 29 March, published in the 
London Press by the Anglo-Hellenic League ; letter from The 
Times correspondent, dated Syra, 23 April, 191 7, etc., etc. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 181 

helping to keep the AlUes in plent)^ would help to reduce 
the RoyaHsts to despair by robbing them of the harvest 
to which they looked forward with strained eyes and 
tightened belts. In this wise both military and pohtical 
problems could be solved by one masterly stroke. 

In April, General Sarrail obtained from his Government 
the orders he had been soliciting since January, to go to 
Thessaly and seize the crops ; only, as the offensive against 
the Bulgars deprived him of adequate means for the 
moment, he decided to put off the stroke until the middle 
of May.i 

Alarmed by these sudden, though not wholly unexpected, 
developments. King Constantine dismissed Professor 
Lambros, and had once more recourse to M. Zaimis ; 
hoping that this statesman, the only non-Venizelist Greek 
whom the slander of Germanophilism had left untouched, 
might prove able to placate the Allies. M. Zaimis, as in 
all previous crises, so now obeyed the call and set himself 
to discover some path out of the wood (2 May). On the 
one hand, he opened negotiations with the Entente 
Ministers ; on the other, he tried to bring about a recon- 
ciliation with M. Venizelos — the King being understood 
to be wilHng to meet the Cretan half-way. 

M. Venizelos, on his part, alarmed by the prospect of a 
rapprochement between Athens and the Entente Powers, 
set himself, as on all similar occasions, to impugn the 
Hellenic Government's sincerity. At a signal from the 
Conductor, all the instruments of the orchestra broke into 
the familiar chorus. The whole Press of France and 
England rang again with calumny and fairy-tale. Out 
they came again in regular sequence and with unvarying 
monotony : plots and secret letters, weird stories of 
German intrigue, constant repetition of names compromised 
or compromising ; all ready, cut and dried, for burking 
any attempt at accommodation that did not include the 
return and domination of the Great Cretan. 

It was maintained that the formation of a Government 
under M. Zaimis was but a new artifice of King Constantine, 
adopted at the Kaiser's suggestion, to temporize by 
ostensibly throwing over a few of his Germanophile favour- 
ites. During more than five months he had contrived 
^ Sarrail, p. 238. 



182 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to checkmate the blockade by drawing on the reserves of 
food he had laid up at his depots. Now those reserves 
were exhausted : he needed the Thessahan corn to replenish 
his magazines, to feed and increase his army, so that in 
the fullness of time he might bring it out of the Peloponnesus 
against the Allies.^ 

Even more sinister were the motives which prompted 
the King's advances to the Cretan. While holding out 
the right hand to M. Venizelos, Constantine with the left 
aimed a dagger at his heart : a band of eleven assassins 
had just been arrested at Salonica on a charge of conspiring 
to murder him — to murder him in the very midst of his 
own and his alhes' mihtary forces, and under circumstances 
which made detection certain and escape impossible. 
Even thus : " their plan was to arrange a banquet to 
which M. Venizelos would have been invited. They are 
said to have confessed that they were sent from Athens 
to kill the Head of the National Government and were 
promised £4,000 for the murder. "^ 

Day by day it became increasingly clear that the question 
of Thessaly formed only part of the larger question of 
Greece ; that behind the campaign for the crops lurked 
the conspiracy against the King. A " radical solution " 
was demanded, on the ground that so long as he reigned 
at Athens we could not consider Greece a friendly neutral. 
The Greek organ of M. Venizelos in London now openly 
described the Cretan as a man sent to heal Hellas of the 
" dynastic canker," and expressed the opinion that the 
healing could only be effected by " Prussian methods."^ 

During the whole of i\Iay this concert of sophistry and 
calumny went on : now sinking into low^ deadly whispers ; 
now swelling into an uproar that rolled like a mighty, 
muddy river in flood through every Allied capital, minister- 
ing to the inarticulate craving of the pubUc for fresh 
sensations, thrilHng its nerves, and feeding its hate and 
fear of King Constantine. At the end of the month the 
curtain went up, and j\I. Venizelos stepped forward to 

1 For details of this apocryphal scheme see a report from 
Salonica, dated 16 May, disseminated by the Anglo-Hellenic 
League ; The Times, 8 and 30 May ; the Daily Mail, 9 and 30 
May, 191 7. 

2 The Times, 14 May, 191 7, dispatch dated Salonica 11 May. 

3 The Hesperia, 11, 18, 25 May, 191 7. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 183 

make the declaration for which his instrumental music 
had prepared our minds : " I reject all idea of reconciliation 
firmly, flatly, and finally ! " 

His confederates and subordinates, as usual, went 
further : Admiral Coundouriotis : " Neither in this world 
nor in the next will I have anything to do with King 
Constantine or his djmasty." 

Minister Pohtis : "No compromise is possible between 
Liberal Greece and the reigning dynasty." 

Minister Averoff : " The one and most important thing 
is that the dynasty of Constantine should, Hke the Turks, 
be turned bag and baggage out of Greece."^ 

So the Great Cretan and his company had given up at 
last pretending that their plot was not directed against 
their King, or that they intended to postpone the settlement 
of their accounts with him till after the War. Their 
relief must have been proportionate to the strain : it is 
not hypocrisy, but the need of consistency that harasses 
a hypocrite. But their outburst of candour was chiefly 
interesting as an index to the attitude of the Powers from 
whom they derived their significance. 

France had long since made up her mind on the deposi- 
tion of Constantine, if not indeed on the subversion of the 
Greek throne. Apart from the hold upon Greece which 
they would gain by placing her under a ruler created by 
and consequently dependent on them, French politicians 
did not lose sight of the popularity which the sacrifice 
of a king — and that king, too, the Kaiser's brother-in-law 
— would earn them among their own compatriots. Further, 
a triumph of French policy over Greece was calcvilated to ob- 
scure in the eyes of the French pubhc the failure of French 
strategy against Bulgaria : " For me the destruction of 
Athens the Germanic came second to the struggle against 
Sofia," wrote General SarraiP ; and there were those who 
believed that his expedition had for its primary objective 
Athens rather than Sofia. 

For a time French poUticians had flattered themselves 
that their aim would be attained by an explosion from 
within. But it was gradually borne in upon them that 
the National Movement represented but a small minority 

^ The Times, 30 May, 1917. 
2 Sarrail, p. 234. 



184 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

of the nation. That truth first became manifest in the 
summer of 1916, when the demobihzation set the Reservists 
loose — the Reservists upon whom M. Venizelos had 
miscounted : their verdict was conclusive ; for they were 
drawn from all districts and all classes of the community : 
the tillers of the plains, the shepherds of the hills, the 
fishermen who lived by the sea, the traders, the teachers, 
the lawyers — they represented, in one word, the whole 
population of military age. The disillusion was furthered 
by the swift suppression of the seditious attempt on 
I December, and was completed by the Blockade, which 
demonstrated the sohdarity of the nation in a manner 
that utterly upset the calculations and disconcerted the 
plans of its authors. Instead of a people ready, after a 
week or two of privation, to sue for mercy — ^to revolt 
against their sovereign and succumb to his rival — the 
French found in every bit of Old Greece — from Mount 
Pindus to Cape Malea — a nation nerved to the highest 
pitch of endurance : prepared to suffer hunger and disease 
without a murmur, and when the hour should come, to 
die as those die who possess things they value more than 
life. This was not what the inventors of the Pacific 
Blockade contemplated : this was not sport : this was 
strife — strife of strength with strength. 

There was nothing left but force — the danger of creating 
a new front had been eliminated by the internment of the 
army, and by the blockade which had succeeded, if not 
in breaking the spirit of the people, in reducing it to such 
a state of misery that it now offered a safe subject for 
attack. M. Ribot, who had replaced M. Briand as Premier 
and Minister for Foreign Affairs, adopted this " radical 
solution." He proposed to dispatch to Athens a plenipo- 
tentiary charged with the mission of deposing King 
Constantine, raising M. Venizelos to dictatorial power, and 
thus establishing the influence of France throughout 
Greece. 

There remained some difficulties of a diplomatic 
character. Russia had never viewed her ally's uncom- 
promising hostihty to King Constantine with enthusiasm. 
But the French thought that this attitude w^as due to 
dynastic ties and monarchic sympathies, and expected 
the downfall of the Tsar to change it : they could hardly 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 185 

imagine that the Russian Repubhc would withdraw even 
that reluctant co-operation in the coercion of Greece which 
the Russian Empire had accorded ; and, at any rate, the 
voice of a country in the throes of internal disintegration 
could have Uttle effect upon the march of external events. 
The decision really lay between France and England. 
England's, like Russia's, co-operation hitherto had been 
but a concession to France. Neither the Foreign Office 
nor the War Office had ever taken the Salonica Expedition 
seriously ; and both departments would gladly have 
washed their hands of a business barren of profit and 
credit alike. But the motives which had impelled London 
to keep Paris company so far were as potent as ever, and 
English politicians had hitherto proved themselves so 
pHant that, provided French pressure continued, the 
utmost which could be apprehended from them was a 
feeble show of resistance followed by abject acquiescence. 
Notwithstanding the moderation England had insisted 
upon at the Boulogne and Rome Conferences, France had 
managed to lead her from violence to violence, till this 
last iniquity, to the logical French mind, seemed inevitable. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

AT the end of May, M. Ribot, accompanied by 
iuJ^ M. Painlev^, Minister of War, came to London and 
laid before the British Government his solution. 
Again our alhes found on this side of the Channel " des 
scrupiiles " ; and again they set themselves to demonstrate 
that " des scrupides, si legitimes soient-ils," weigh light 
against interests. Even when the principle was conceded, 
there still hngered some disquietude regarding the practi- 
cability of bringing about the King's dethronement 
without bloodshed. But the French did not share this 
disquietude, and, after three days' hard talking, they 
converted the English Ministers to their point of view. 
It was agreed that the operation should be carried out 
without war. The only measures of a military nature to 
which the British Government consented were the estab- 
lishment in Thessaly of outposts for the control of the 
crops, and the occupation of the Isthmus of Corinth, should 
King Constantine attempt to move his army out of the 
Peloponnesus : unless the King committed acts of hostility, 
no violence should be used. Having thus satisfied their 
conscience, the British Ministers abstained from any closer 
scrutiny. ^ 

The task was entrusted to M. Jonnart, a Senator of large 
African experience, who, armed with the title of High 
Commissioner of the Protecting Powers of Greece, set out 
at once " to re-establish the constitutional verity" — such 
was the formula. " His Majesty King Constantine, ha\ing 
manifestly violated, on his own iritiative, the Constitution 
of which France, Great Britain, and Russia are the guaran- 
tors, has lost the confidence of the Protecting Powers, 
and they consider themselves released from the obhgations 
to him resulting from their rights of protection."^ 

With the violation of the Constitution by King Constan- 
tine we have already dealt exhaustively. W'e must here 
^ Jonnart, pp. 60-67. ^ Ibid, pp. 109-10. 

1 86 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 187 

deal as exhaustively with the three Powers' claim to act 
as its " guarantors " and their " rights of protection." 

The claim rested on a phrase in the Treaty of 13 July, 
1863, between them and Denmark, concerning the accession 
to the Hellenic throne of the late King : " Greece, under 
the sovereignty of Prince William of Denmark and the 
guarantee of the three Courts, forms a monarchical, 
independent, and constitutional State. "^ That guarantee 
was no innovation, and had no reference to the Constitution. 
The Protocol of the Conference held on 26 June, 1863, 
explains that " as regards the guarantee of the political 
existence of the Kingdom of Greece, the three Protecting 
Powers maintain simply the terms in which it is enunciated 
in Article IV of the Convention of 7 May, 1832," ^ — that is, 
the Convention between the three Powers and Bavaria 
concerning the accession to the Hellenic throne of her 
first King. Turning to that document, we find Article IV 
running as follows : " Greece, under the sovereignty of 
the Prince Otho of Bavaria, and under the guarantee of 
the three Courts, shall form a monarchical and independent 
State, according to the terms of the Protocol signed between 
the said Courts on the 3rd of February, 1830, and accepted 
both by Greece and by the Ottoman Porte." And above 
it, in Article I, we read : " The Courts of Great Britain, 
France and Russia, duly authorized for the purpose by 
the Greek Nation, offer the hereditary sovereignty of Greece 
to the Prince Frederick Otho of Bavaria." * Nothing could 
be plainer than that the guarantee referred to the " political 
existence of Greece," not to her constitutional form of 
government, and that the three Powers in disposing of 
her throne acted, not by their own authority, but by the 
authority of the Greek Nation, which alone had the right 
to do so, and which exercised that right directly in choosing 
its last king. But this is not all. Turning to the Protocol 
of the 3rd of February, 1830, we read in its very first 
article : " Greece shall form an independent State, and 
shall enjoy all the rights, pohtical, administrative and 
commercial, pertaining to complete independence."* 

1 Nouveau Recueil G6n6ral des Traites. By Ch. Samwer, Vol. 
XVII, Part ii. 

2 Ibid. 

■^ Papers ve Affairs of Greece, 1830-32. 
* Papers r$ Affairs of Greece, 1826-30. 



188 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

As to the term " protection " occeisionally employed bj' 
the three Powers, and by the Greeks themselves, its true 
sense can be shown beyond ambiguity. " Greece," wrote 
the Duke of WeUington, " once estabUshed and her boun- 
daries guaranteed as proposed, she will have the same 
right to assistance and protection against foreign aggression 
as any other State in Europe, of which there are many, 
which exercise an independent action in all their concerns, 
external as well as internal." Far from claiming to Umit 
her independence in any way, the British Foreign Secretary 
emphatically declared " that the permanent poHcy of this 
country towards Greece must be friendly, if Greece should 
be really independent and conduct herself as an independent 
Power. "^ 

Likewise, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, 
tracing the history of events and negotiations which 
culminated in the estabhshment of Greek freedom, dwelt 
on France's successful desire " not only to liberate Greece 
from the Ottoman yoke, but to make of Greece a real State, 
a State independent in right and in fact, a State that 
should not be put officially under the tutelage of anyone, 
a State that should not need any perpetual semi-ofhcial 
intervention." By thus making Greece " free to choose 
her friends and alhes," and " not under anyone's protec- 
tion," the French expected that she would " look towards 
France, who can promise her, in need, her assistance 
without menacing her with her protection." The Minister 
concluded by boasting that " the success is complete. 
Greece exists, she is independent. All Europe recognizes 
her : she depends on no Power either as sovereign or as 
guarantor." 2 

Since the date of these documents and statements, 
practice had confirmed the principles enunciated in them. 
As a completely independent Power Greece had waged 
wars and concluded treaties with other Powers. It is 
true that on certain occasions she was prevented from 
fighting by coercive measures ; but these measures were 
not taken bj^ the three Powers — sometimes they were 

^ Wellington to Prince Leopold, lo Feb., 1830. State Papers, 
1829-30. 

~ Due de Broglie's Speech, 18 May, 1833. Ecrits et Discours, 
Vol. II, pp. 415 foil. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 189 

taken by two alone ; sometimes by the whole Concert 
of Emope — nor were they taken in virtue of any 
right other than the right of the stronger. Like- 
wise, Greece had framed and revised her Constitution, 
dethroned and enthroned Kings without asking any- 
one's permission or sanction. It is true that in her 
domestic revolutions the influence of the three Powers 
could be plainly detected, but it was wholly in the nature 
of backstairs intrigue — carried on by each against the 
others — such as even the greatest Empires experience on 
the part of interested outsiders. In short, since its birth 
until igi6, no one had dreamt of questioning the status 
of the Hellenic Kingdom as a completely independent 
Power, or attempted to give to " the guarantee of the 
political existence of Greece," which aimed at securing 
her against external aggression, the interpretation that it 
referred to her form of government and conferred a right 
of interference in her internal affairs. 

The present interference, clearly, had no more legal 
basis than all the other invasions to which Greece had 
submitted during the War under protest. Casuistry was 
merely called in to cloak the exigencies of pohcy : King 
Constantine's dethronement was decreed, not because it 
was lawful, but because France required it, and England, 
for good reasons, could not let France bring it about alone : 
what Russia thought of the transaction, she soon let the 
whole world know with disconcerting bluntness. Petro- 
grad not only withdrew her troops from the performance, 
but made short work of the " guarantee " and " protection" 
quibbles by roundly declaring that " the choice of the 
form of government in Greece, as well as its administrative 
organization, appertains exclusively to the Greek people."* 

Meanwhile M. Jonnart sped eastward, eager and deter- 
mined to serve the ImperiaHst ambitions of the French 
RepubUc in the Orient. His mandate gave him unlimited 
choice of means, diplomatic and military, and he fully 
justified the trust placed in his tact. On the maxim that, 
the more prompt the display of force, the less likely the 
occasion to use it, he decided, contrary to the instructions 
he had received in London, not to wait and see whether 

^ Communique of the Russian Government, Reutcr, Petrograd, 
7 July, 1917. 



190 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

King Constantine meditated hostile acts or not ; he 
arranged for the necessary naval measures with Admiral 
Gauchet, whom he met off Corfu, and, after a brief stop 
in the Road of Salamis, he hastened to Salonica, where he 
arranged with General Sarrail for the miUtary measures : 
a simultaneous invasion of Thessaly, occupation of the 
Isthmus of Corinth, and a landing at Athens. At the 
same time he conferred with M. Venizelos, who pronounced 
all these arrangements excellent, and suggested that, after 
the removal of the King, he must give the public mind time 
to calm down before returning to Athens : in the interval 
M. Zaimis might be left in power. The period of transition 
should perhaps last several months : a prudent counsel 
with which ^I. Jonnart fully concurred : both he and M. 
Ribot recognized the danger of hurrying the return of 
the Cretan to a city which he had been describing as ready 
to embrace him. The programme settled in all its details, 
M. Jonnart left Salonica with General Regnault, who was 
put in command of the divisions told off for Corinth and 
Athens, and in the evening of 9 June arrived in the 
Road of Salamis, where he took up his abode on board the 
ironclad Justice^ 

Here the most deUcate part of his mission, and the one 
in which he displayed most of his tact, commenced. On 
the following evening (10 June) he met M. Zaimis on board 
the Bruix at the Piraeus. It was, as we know, essential 
that M. Zaimis should be induced to remain in power for 
a while, to bridge over the gap between the deposition of 
the King and the elevation of M. Venizelos. But it was 
most unUkely that M. Zaimis would consent to play the 
part assigned to him, if he knew what he was doing. There- 
fore, at this first interview M. Jonnart did not think fit to 
demand anything more than the control of the Thessalian 
crops and the occupation of the Isthmus of Corinth. 
Agreeably surprised at demands which fell so far short of 
the objects Avith which rumour had credited the High 
Commissioner, the Premier raised no difficulties ; and M. 
Jonnart, in order " to gain his confidence," spoke to him 
with his usual " accent of loyalty and frankness " about 
the magnificent future the Protecting Powers had in store 
for Greece. Then, under the pretence that he was awaiting 
1 Jonnart, pp. 70-95. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 191 

fresh instructions that night, he made another appointment 
for the following morning. ^ 

The Greek left, and next morning (ii June) returned to 
hear more. At this second interview M. Jonnart handed 
to him an Ultimatum with a twenty-four hours' limit, 
demanding that the King should abdicate and go, after 
naming as his successor, not the legitimate Heir, but his 
second son — a young man who, having no will of his own, 
was highly recommended by M. Venizelos. Thus the 
re-establishment of constitutional verity was to begin with 
the violation of a fundamental article of the Constitution — 
the succession by order of primogeniture.'* M. Zaimis 
stood aghast — " wrung with emotion." M. Jonnart 
spoke eloquently and urgently : the Powers only sought 
the unity and Uberty of Greece — the greatness of Greece, 
now divided, partly dismembered, in a state of anarchy, 
on the eve of civil war. The High Commissioner would 
do all that in liim lay that the change of reign might be 
accompHshed in the most pacific manner. He appealed 
warmly to the Premier's patriotism.* 

According to some accounts, he added two more instances 
of his " loyalty and frankness " by stating that, when the 
War was over, the Powers would have no objection to the 
restoration of King Constantine, if such should be the wish 
of the Greek people — a statement which he authorized 
M. Zaimis to publish ;* and that they had no intention to 
bring M. Venizelos back : as soon as the unity of Greece 
was achieved, the Salonica Government would disappear ; 
only later on M. Venizelos might return to office by the 
legal way and after new elections. On the other hand, 
if the Ultimatum was not executed, he threatened the 
downfall of the whole d5masty, the forcible establishment 
of a Republic, and the immediate return of M. Venizelos. ^ 

The interview ended with a grim declaration by M. 
Jonnart that, unless his decree was obeyed to the letter, 
he would do to Athens what the Germans had done to his 
native Arras — reduce it to a heap of ruins. ^ 

^ Jonnart, pp. 102-4. ^ gge Art. 45. ^ Jonnart, pp. 109-12. 
* When the Greek Premier did so, M. Jonnart repudiated it as 
" a mistake of M. Zaimis." — See The Times, 11 July, 1917. 
^ Le Dipart dn Roi Constantin, Geneva, 1917, pp. 13, 14. 
" Jonnart, p. 113. 



192 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

There could be no doubt that M. Jonnart meant business : 
he was an ex-Governor of Algeria ; his mentality and his 
methods had been formed in the African school of Inter- 
national Law. Remonstrance was futile and resistance 
would be fatal : a column was already marching into 
Thessaly ; part of an army corps had landed at Corinth ; 
a powerful squadron rode off Salamis with its guns trained 
on Athens ; troops were in the ports of Piraeus and Phaleron 
ready at a signal to land and march on the capital. Con- 
fronted with the choice either to help in the pacific libera- 
tion of his country or to witness its devastation, M. Zaimis 
chose the lesser evil ; and M. Jonnart was able to report, 
with pardonable complacency : "I persuaded him to 
continue in office, to take the message demanding his 
abdication to the King, and to advise the King to 
accept."^ 

With this message the Premier hurried off to Athens 
and straightway communicated it to his sovereign. Im- 
mediately a Crown Council was called at the Palace. 
Besides M. Zaimis, all the ex-Premiers and leaders of 
parties were present : Rallis, Dragoumis, Skouloudis, 
Gounaris, Lambros, Calogeropoulos, Dimitracopoulos, 
Stratos. From the first the King announced that he had 
decided to accept the Ultimatum and leave Greece with 
the Crown Prince, in order to spare her greater calamities, 
such as would result from a conflict with the Entente 
Powers. 

Whether Constantine would not have been better 
advised to have opposed the landing of the Allies at 
Salonica ; or interned their army when he had it at his 
mercy ; or arrested Admiral Dartige du Fournet and his 
marines and held them, together with the Entente Ministers 
and subjects, as hostages : whether by any of those acts 
he might not have escaped this final blow, was now of small 
account : though the point provides matter for very 
interesting speculation. Now, with his troops and arms 
bottled up in the Peloponnesus and his people reduced 
by starvation to helplessness, all chance of escape was 
cut off. A pitiful situation, no doubt, but more pitiful 
had he attempted resistance. In such event, the Powers 
would immediately declare that a state of war existed 
1 The Times, ii July, igi?- 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 193 

and France might acquire a permanent footing by right 
of conquest.^ 

Nevertheless, two only of the statesmen assembled, 
M. Zaimis and M. Stratos, pronounced in favour of sub- 
mission. The rest were against it. True, they argued, 
Greece completely disarmed could offer no effective 
resistance to the armies and fleets which hemmed her in 
on every side. Yet it were better that the King should 
let violence be used against him, better that he should 
be made the Powers' prisoner, than yield. His hopes of 
sparing Greece greater calamities by his abnegation were 
vain. No calamity could be greater than that which would 
be produced by an acceptance of M. Jonnart's Ultimatum. 
They recalled all the encroachments upon her neutrality, 
all the infringements of her sovereignty, to which Greece 
had submitted unresistingly, trusting to the Allies' solemn 
promises. And how had they kept those promises ? 
After the violation of so many pledges, how was it possible 
to put faith in M. Jonnart's assurances ? If the French 
troops pursued their march into the country, imposed upon 
it Venizelos by force, dragged it into the war, who could 
stop them ? Better perish without dishonour. 

Such, in substance, were the arguments used. The King 
remained unshaken. " We have no right to doubt the good 
faith of M. Jonnart," he said. Despite past experience, 
the man who was perpetually accused of having no scruple 
about breaking his word, was still slow to beheve that 
others could break theirs. He made all present promise 
that they would use their utmost endeavours to have his 
decision accepted by the people, so that no disturbance 
might aggravate a situation already sufficiently menacing. 
They all left the Council Chamber in tears. ^ 

In the afternoon a Cabinet meeting took place under the 
presidency of the King, who, quite unmoved by the objec- 
tions and entreaties of his Ministers, persisted in his 
resolution. It was then decided that M. Zaimis should 
draw up the reply, and that the draft, after receiving the 

^ Even as it was, General Sarrail lamented the advent of M. 
Venizelos at Salonica as " a Greek master-stroke " calculated " to 
keep ' the coveted city ' Greek." — Sarrail, pp. 153, 154. He 
evidently preferred not to have even a portion of Greece as an ally, 
that he might treat the whole of it as an enemy. 

- Le Depart du Roi Constantin, pp. 14-18. 

13 



194 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

King's approval, should be communicated to M. Jonnart. 
This was done, and M. Jonnart having declared himself 
satisfied, the document was handed to him next morning. 
By that reply the Greek Premier, after noting the three 
Powers' demand for the abdication of King Constantine 
and the designation of his successor, briefly stated that 
" His Majesty, solicitous as always only for the interest of 
Greece, has decided to quit the country " [not to abdicate) 
" with the Crown Prince, and designates as his successor 
Prince Alexander."^ 

Thus far the High Commissioner's enterprise had pros- 
pered beyond the anticipations of the most sanguine. And 
now his anxieties began. From the moment of his arrival 
the populace, which two years of contact \\dth the Allies 
had made suspicious, became very uneasy and excited. 
Throughout the night of lo June rumours circulated that 
an ultimatum of an extreme nature had been presented to 
the Government. Groups were formed in the streets and 
squares, discussing the situation, criticizing the Govern- 
ment bitterly, and inveighing against M. Zaimis, who, 
it was said, was ready to accept still more rigorous demands. 
The crowds grew in numbers and vehemence as the night 
advanced ; and, in the morning of the nth, while M. 
Zaimis was still with M. Jonnart, the Government, to 
avert disturbances, issued a communique, stating that all 
the rumours of fresh demands were devoid of foundation. 
The Premier in his first conversation with the representa- 
tive of the three Powers had not detected any danger 
whatever either to the independence of the country or to 
the djmasty or to the regime. On the contrary, M. 
Jonnart had expressed the will of the Powers to see Greece 
great, strong, and absolutely independent. Consequently 
the Greek people ought to remain quiet, certain that by its 
peaceful conduct it would contribute to the success of the 
King's and the Government's efforts. ^ 

This declaration had calmed the public for a few hours. 
But after the return of M. Zaimis from his second inter- 
view with the High Commissioner, the object of M. Jon- 
nart 's mission began to leak out : the whisper went round 
that the King's abdication was demanded. The hasty 

^ Jonnart, pp. 116-7. 

2 Le Ddpart du Roi Constaniin, p. 11. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 195 

convocation of a Crown Council intensified the public 
uneasiness. The special measures for the maintenance 
of order taken by the authorities, the advice to keep calm 
whatever happened, which emanated from every influential 
quarter, the haggard faces of all those who came out of the 
Palace, left no doubt that something very serious was afoot. 
More, it became known that during the night the Isthmus 
of Corinth had been occupied by large numbers of French 
troops which had taken up the rails of the line joining the 
Peloponnesus to the capital, that the French fleet in 
Salamis Strait had been reinforced, that the three Powers' 
Ministers had quitted their Legations and nobody knew 
where they had slept. Hour by hour the popular distress 
increased, until late in the afternoon the news spread 
through the town that the King had decided to go ; and 
as it spread, the shops closed, the church bells began to 
toll as for a funeral, and masses of people rushed from 
every side towards the Palace, to prevent the King from 
going. Soon all approaches to the Palace were blocked 
and the building itself was completely besieged by a crowd 
of agitated men and sobbing women, all demanding to 
see their sovereign, and shouting : " Don't go ! Don't 
go! " 

Numerous deputations appeared before the King and 
implored him to change his mind— in vain. To one of 
them, sent by the officers of the Athens garrison, he spoke 
as follows : " You know my decision. The interest of 
our country demands that all, be they civilians or soldiers, 
should submit to discipHne. Keep calm and preserve 
your prudence." To a delegation composed of the heads 
of the city guilds he repUed : " In the interests of the State, 
gentlemen, I am obliged to leave the country. The people 
must have confidence in my advisers. God will always 
be with us, and Greece will become happy again. I 
adjure you, gentlemen, in the name of the Almighty, to 
offer no opposition. Any reaction would be in the highest 
degree dangerous to the State. If I, born and bred in 
Athens and Greek to the marrow of my bones, decide 
to go, I don't do so, you understand well, except in 
order to save my people and my country. Pray go to 
your corporations and our fellow-citizens and tell them 
to cease from gathering : to be calm and sensible, 



196 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

because the King, at this moment, is performing a sacred 
duty."i 

The same delegation succeeded in reaching M. Zaimis, 
and on coming out it pubhshed through a special edition 
of a journal the result : " The Premier, with tears in his 
eyes, and the other three Ministers present at the audience, 
after relating the sequence of political events which have 
led to this cruel decision about our beloved King, begged 
us to advise the people in his name to face the crisis with 
sang-froid, and to assure it that the abdication of the King 
is but temporary, since, according to M. Jonnart's declara- 
tion, it rests with the people to call him back after the 
War ; that all resistance on the part of the people will 
result in the abolition of the dynasty and the establishment 
of a Republic under Venizelos ; that the Alhes would not 
recoil from a bombardment of the capital and a military 
occupation ; but if the people keep quiet, there will be no 
military occupation of Athens, only some soldiers may land 
at the Piraeus to stretch their legs — and so on."^ 

Nothing, however, could allay the popular agony. As 
darkness fell, Athens presented a strange sight — silent 
figures marching, one after another, towards where King 
Constantine was spending his last night in his capital. 
They made their forlorn pilgrimage without the least 
noise, and as they went they passed other groups returning 
with equal noiselessness. " It was," says an eye-witness, 
" as if the people of Athens were visiting a tomb or a 
lying-in-state."^ 

A crowd remained on guard all night long. About 
4.30 a.m. a motor car was seen drawing up at a side en- 
trance of the Palace. The crowd recognized the King's 
chauffeur and guessed that he had come for the King and 
the royal family, who presently appeared at the door. 
The guardsmen threw themselves on the ground as much 
as to say that the vehicle must pass over their bodies. 
The King and royal family withdrew, and the car went 
away empty. Two other attempts to leave the Palace 
proved equally unsuccessful. The crowd would not let any 
door be opened. Compact and silent, it mounted guard. 

^ Le Depart du Roi Constantin, pp. 28-9. 
2 Le Depart du Roi Constantin, pp. 26-7. 
^ The Weekly Dispatch, 17 Juue, iyi7. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 197 

So passed the night ; and the morning (12 June) dawned 
on the faithful men and women who watched by the 
Palace. The churches again began to toll funeral peals, 
and again thousands began flowing in the same direction : 
the whole town through all its streets — mournful groups, 
soon waxing to mournful multitudes, and other multitudes, 
streamed on. From an early hour the Palace was again 
entirely surrounded : 

" We will not let you go," they shouted. " We want 
our King ! " 

This was the answer the people made to the farewell 
message which the King had caused to be posted at the 
street corners : " Obeying necessity, and performing my 
duty towards Greece, I am departing from my beloved 
country with my heir, leaving my son Alexander on the 
throne. I beg you to accept my decision with serenity, 
trusting to God, whose blessing I invoke on the nation. 
And that this sacrifice may not be in vain, I adjure all of 
you, if you love God, if you love your country, if, lastly, 
you love me, not to make any disturbance, but to remain 
submissive. The least disorder, even if prompted by a 
lofty sentiment, may to-day lead to the most terrible 
disasters. At this moment the greatest solace for the 
Queen and myself lies in the affection and devotion which 
you have always shown to us, in the happy days as in 
the unhappy. May God protect Greece. — Constantine 
R."^ Motionless and silent groups read this message ; 
but the crowd outside the Palace went on crjdng, monoton- 
ously : " No ! No ! " and " He mustn't go ! " 

These things began to fill the emissary of the Protecting 
Powers with uneasiness. He felt that a clear manifestation 
of the fact that the King had been superseded must be 
given to the populace. ^ A proclamation in King Alexan- 
der's name was accordingly issued. Simultaneously, a 
notice, the text of which, it is affirmed, had been settled 
between the Government and M. Jonnart, was pubHshed. 
It ran : " To-day at noon, after the administration of the 
oath to King Alexander, M. Jonnart by a special messenger 
announced to the Greek Government that it could send at 
once authorities to Salonica, since the Provisional Govern- 

^ he Depart du Roi Constantin, pp. 30-1. 
^ M. Jonnart, in The Times, 11 July, 191 7. 



198 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

ment is henceforward dissolved. It is equally well-known 
that M. Venizelos shall not by any means come to Athens, 
and that the Powers have no ulterior design to establish 
him in power. Greece is nowise bound to pursue the policy 
of the Triumvirate, but is free to adhere to her neutrahty."^ 

For all that, the people continued restive. The King's 
departure had been fixed for noon ; but in face of the 
popular unwilhngness to let him go, the departure seemed 
impossible. It became evident that the methods of per- 
suasion wliich sufficed for the Premier did not suffice for 
the people. Something more effective than the march into 
distant Thessaly and the landing at remote Corinth was 
needed. Accordingly, the destroyers came into Phaleron 
Bay, and French troops began to disembark. ^ The 
Athenians, however, did not seem to be cowed even when 
they saw that the French troops advanced close to Athens. 
\^Tiat was to be done ? Was M. Jonnart, after all, to 
succeed no better than Admiral Dartige du Foumet ? 
The ex-Governor of Algeria, put on his mettle, acted 
promptly. He sent word to M. Zaimis that the King's 
departure should not be any longer delayed : if the Greek 
police were unable to disperse the crowd, the High Com- 
missioner was ready to send from the Piraeus some com- 
panies of machine-guns.' 

Then, at 5 p.m., a last attempt was made by the royal 
family to leave the Palace. It succeeded, thanks to a 
feint which decoyed the crowd to a side door, while the 
fugitives escaped by the main entrance. 

The day, in spite of all forebodings, ended without a 
disturbance. The parade of overwhelming force by M. 
Jonnart and his unmistakable determination to use it 
mercilessly had, no doubt, convinced a populace quick to 
grasp a situation that opposition spelt suicide. But it 
was mainly the example and exhortations of their King 
that compelled them to suppress their rage and resign 
themselves to the inevitable. For — Greece is a land of 
paradoxes — no full-blooded Greek, whether statesman or 
soldier, was ever clothed with the same amplitude of 
authority over his countrymen as this simple, upright, 

1 Le D spar I du Roi Constantin, p. 34. 

2 The Weekly Dispatch, 17 June, 191 7- 
' Jonnart, p. 128. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 199 

kindly son of a Danish father and a Russian mother, in 
whom the subtle Hellenes found their ideal Basileus. 

And so the drama which had been staged for more than 
a year by French diplomacy was satisfactorily wound up ; 
and the curtain fell, amid the applause of the spectators.^ 

^ Of all English newspapers the Weekly Dispatch (17 June, 1917) 
alone gave some account of this last scene of the drama. The rest 
atoned for their self-denial in narrative by proportionate self- 
indulgence in comment. One of them described the coup as " a 
distinct gain both to our interests in the East and to our moral 
position in the world." British agents on the spot must have been 
strangely blind to this aspect of the business ; for General Sarrail 
complains that the coup succeeded in spite of the obstacles raised 
" by our allies, the English. It was cl contre-cceur that 500 of 
their men were furnished me for the descent on Thessaly. The 
Chief of the British Staff, no doubt by order, sought to learn my 
plans that he might telegraph them and ruin our action, etc." — 
Sarrail, p. 242. Without for a moment accepting the French 
General's suggestions of British double-dealing, we have every 
reason to believe that he was right in the view that the disgraceful 
affair did not enjoy British official sympathy. 



CHAPTER XIX 

MJONNART celebrated his triumph with yet 
another proclamation by which he assured the 
* Greek people that the " guaranteeing " Powers 
were there to restore Constitutional Verity and the regular 
working of constitutional institutions ; that all reprisals 
against Greeks, to whatever party they might belong, 
would be ruthlessly repressed ; that the liberty of every- 
body would be safeguarded ; that the " protecting " 
Powers, respectful of the people's sovereignty, had no 
intention of imposing a mobihzation upon it.^ 

The sincerity of these professions was soon brought to 
the test. While penning them, M. Jonnart had before 
him two lists of persons marked down for reprisals. The 
first contained thirty victims, foremost among them M. 
Gounaris, General Dousmanis, and Colonel Metaxas — 
M. Streit had anticipated his doom by accompanying his 
sovereign into exile ; these were deported to Corsica. 
The second Ust comprised one hundred and thirty persons 
— two ex-Premiers, MM. Skouloudis and Lambros, six 
ex-Ministers of State, one General, one Admiral, other 
officers of high rank, lawyers, publicists — who were to be 
placed under surveillance. The King's three brothers- 
Princes Nicholas, Andrew, and Christopher — were banished 
with their famihes to Switzerland. In addition, certain 
individuals of lower class who had participated in the 
events of i and 2 December, and whose culpability 
was vouched for by the French Secret Service, were to be 
arrested and brought to book.^ 

M. Jonnart, forbidden by his diplomatic art from 
meddhng openly in the internal affairs of the country, 
caused this epuration to be carried out through M. Zaimis. 
It was hard for the poor Premier to expel fellow-citizens 

1 Reuter, Athens, 16 June, 1917 ; Jonnart, pp. 137-40. 

2 Jonnart, pp. 147-51, 179-80. 

200 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 201 

who had occupied eminent positions and with whom he 
had been in close relations — not to mention the flagrant 
illegaUty of such a proceeding. ^ But how could he hope 
to argue successfully against a man who, under the ap- 
pearances of a scrupulous conscience, recognized no law ? 
So it came that, after a long interview on board the Justice 
(i6 June), M. Zaimis fell in with M. Jonnart's wish.^ 

This rapid fulfilment of the " no reprisals " pledge was 
declared necessary to make Athens safe for the AlHes.^ It 
certainly was indispensable to make it safe for M. Venizelos, 
whose immediate return, by a modification of the original 
plan, had been resolved upon. The French, finding 
things composed into tranquihty much sooner than they 
anticipated, saw no cause for delay. Was it not a fact 
that whenever the High Commissioner visited the capital, 
he met with nothing but respect, sympathy, and cries of 
" Vive la France " ?* It was : in all ages, from the time 
of the Roman Consul Flamininus onwards, there have 
been found Greeks loving liberators more than liberty. 

But M. Venizelos knew better. Whilst at Salonica, he 
used to assure his Western friends that " the great majority 
at Athens remained Venizelist. If proof be desired, it is 
only necessary to organize a referendum, subject, of 
course, to guarantees of impartiality. Let the King and 
his satelhtes be put aside for the moment, let controllers 
be appointed from all countries . . . and let the people 
be asked to vote freely. ... I am sure of a great majority. 
Let them take me at my word ! "^ When, however, the 
King and his satellites were about to be put aside, M. 
Venizelos, as we have seen, had stipulated for some months 
of delay ; and now that they had been put aside, he still 
felt that the partial epuration did not suffice for his safety. 
No doubt, the bayonets which had pulled the King down 
were able to set him up. But M. Venizelos, for reasons 
both personal and patriotic, shrank from leaning on foreign 
bayonets more than was unavoidable. He had no desire 
to justify the nickname, bestowed upon him months ago, 

^ See Art. 4 of the Greek Constitution. 

2 Jonnart, p. 147. 

^ Ibid, p. 160. 

* Ibid, p. 170. 

^ The New Europe, 29 March, 191 7, p. 327. 



202 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

of " Archisenegalesos " {" Chief of the Senegalese ") — an 
epithet convejang the suggestion that he aimed at turning 
Greece into a dependency of France. M. Jonnart seemed 
to share this laudable delicacy.^ 

General Sarrail, however, cared nothing for appearances, 
but itched to get M. Venizelos out of Salonica at the earliest 
possible moment. His first favourable impression of the 
Cretan as "somebody" had not survived closer acquain- 
tance. He considered him wanting in courage. He had no 
patience with his hesitations. He felt, in short, no more 
respect for him than men usually feel for their tools ; and 
since he had never learned to put any restraint on his 
tongue, he expressed his opinion of this " ex-revolutionary 
transformed into a Government man " freely. The Greek 
was too discreet to say what he thought of the Frenchman ; 
but as he was not less vain and domineering, their inter- 
course at Salonica had been the reverse of harmonious.^ 
Thus the Leader of the Liberals found himself prodded 
back to the city from wliich he had been prodded nine 
months before. 

He arrived on board a French warship off the Piraeus 
on 21 June. But he gave out that he did not intend to 
come to Athens, or to call himself to power. An agreement, 
he said, had been reached between M. Jonnart and M. 
Zaimis to the effect that a mixed Ministerial Commission 
should be formed to negotiate the unification of the country.' 
That was true. With his usual sense of propriety, the 
High Commissioner would not dream of usurping the 
place of the acknowledged chiefs of the Greek people. It 
was for them to take the initiative. The " guaranteeing " 
Powers wliich he represented respected the national will 
too much to dictate the terms of the fusion between the 
two sections into which Greece had been so unfortunately 
divided. Therefore, he invited the heads of the two 
Governments, M. Zaimis and M. Venizelos, to enter into 
direct conversations : he offering to act as a simple ad- 

^ Jonnart, p. 159. 

2 Sarrail, pp. 102, 153, 234-5. One of their quarrels arose from 
the fact that General Sarrail claimed entire jurisdiction over the 
inhabitants of the country, many of whom he had deported to 
France as suspects and refused to give them up to the courts 
competent to deal with them. 

^ Renter, Athens, 21 June, 1917. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 203 

viser, mediator, at most arbitrator. Both seized on the 
invitation.^ 

The main question had aheady been settled betv/een 
M. Jonnart and M. Venizelos : the latter should return to 
power at once. But, legally he could only return by a 
parliamentary election, and, as he could not hope for a 
majority, neither he nor M. Jonnart wanted an election. 
It was accordingly decided that, since no reliance could 
be placed on the popular will of the present, an appeal 
should be made to the popular will of the past : the 
Chamber of 13 June, 1915, in which M. Venizelos had a 
majority, should be recalled to life, on the gi-ound that its 
dissolution, in their opinion, was illegal. This decision — 
so well calculated to preserve externals with all the rever- 
ence which expediency permitted — was, on 24 June, 
formally conveyed by the High Commissioner to M. 
Zaimis, who, doing what was expected of him, tendered 
his resignation. The High Commissioner thanked him 
and promptly obtained from King Alexander a declara- 
tion that he was ready to entrust the Government to M. 
Venizelos, who only asked for a delay of two days to fetch 
his Cabinet from Salonica.^ 

Meanwhile, the news that M. Venizelos was coming had 
spread, and the return at that delicate moment of the 
yacht Sphacteria which had carried King Constantine away 
added fuel to the flame. In the evening (24 June), the 
crew of the boat, joined by students and reservists, paraded 
the streets with a portrait of the King and cried " Long 
live Constantine ! " The column of demonstrators grew 
as it went along — the police being unable or unwilling to 
check it. Without a doubt, M. Venizelos was right : the 
epuration of the capital had not gone far enough. To 
prevent surprises, General Regnault, commander of the 
landing forces, immediately took the measures which he 
had carefully planned in advance. By dawn of 25 June, 
French troops with artillery had occupied all the heights 
round the town : they were to stay there as long as M. 
Venizelos wanted them — and, perhaps, even longer.' 

^ Jonnart, p. i6i. 2 Jonnart, pp. 162-73, 180-1. 

' Jonnart, pp. 176-8, 199-201. The Italians, who had stepped 
into Epirus, only evacuated it when they made sure that their alHes 
were quitting Thcssaly and Attica. 



204 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Under such conditions the People's Chosen formed his 
Ministry (26 June), and nerved himself to face the people. 
Every preparation for his entry into the capital had been 
made. Nothing remained but to fix the hour. But tliis 
he evaded doing in a manner which puzzled and exas- 
perated the French General. It was the goal towards 
which they had moved steadily and methodically, step 
tracing step, through so many weary months — the crown 
of their joint adventure. Why, then, did he not seize it ? 
Why did he shrink from possession ? What did he mean 
by it ? The General did not know. But he felt that it 
would not do. " M. le President," he said to him, in- 
cisively, " Here you are in power ; it is up to you to 
assume the responsibility. I have the force in my hands, 
and it is my business to secure your installation in Athens. 
But I must have your instructions. Tell me what measures 
you want me to take." The request was a command. 
M. Venizelos thanked the General effusively, pressing his 
hands. " After all," he said, "it is certain that people 
will always say that I did not return to Athens but with 
the support of the Allies." Finally it was arranged 
that he should land in the forenoon of 27 June. An 
ordeal which could not be avoided ought not to be 
postponed. 

At the appointed hour the French troops entered Athens 
with their macliine-gims and occupied the principal points 
along the route by which M. Venizelos was to proceed, 
while the vicinity of the Royal Palace where he was to 
take the oath of office and the interior of it were watched 
by 400 Cretan gendarmes, his faithful bodyguard, come 
from Salonica. Notwithstanding all these precautions, 
M. Venizelos and his Ministers, modestly averse from 
exposing themselves to the enthusiasm of their fellow- 
citizens, motored at top speed straight to the Palace, 
eschewing the central thoroughfares, and thence to the 
Hotel Grande Bretagne, in the corridors of which also 
Cretan stalwarts mounted guard. Thanks to this vigil- 
ance, as General Regnault observes, the assassins whom the 
Premier and his friends feared to see rise from everj^ street 
corner, and even in the passages of the Palace and hotel, 
had not materialized. But ]\I. Venizelos, where his own 
hfe was concerned, took no chances : a Cretan regiment 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 205 

from Salonica landed that afternoon to replace the foreign 
battalions.^ 

Towards evening a demonstration organized in the 
square before the hotel gave M. Venizelos an opportunity 
of appearing on the balcony and making an eloquent 
speech. He reminded his hearers how the last warning 
he had addressed to King Constantine from the balcony 
of his house ten months ago had been disregarded, and how, 
in consequence, the part of the nation still healthy had 
risen to save the rest. The cure thus begun would go on 
until it had wrought out its accomplishment. In due 
time a Constituent Assembly would be elected to revise 
the Constitution so as to place beyond peradventure the 
sovereignty of the people. Meanwhile, the national 
system had been singularly enfeebled and corrupted bj/ the 
late autocratic regime : the public services did not do their 
work as they ought ; impurities had crept into the blood ; 
the body politic needed purging. He would put all this 
right. He would restore the system to vigorous activity. 
Every impurity would be cleansed from it, and pure, 
refreshed blood would circulate all over the body politic, 
giving health to every fibre of the State. As to matters 
external, he thought it needless to say that the place of 
Greece was by the side of the Powers who fought for 
democracy. ^ 

The next two days saw this programme at work. 

A rupture of relations with the Central Empires, to be 
followed by a mobilization, marked the end of Greek 
neutrality. King Alexander, as yet a novice in statecraft, 
expressed surprise at the inconsistency between these acts 
and the repeated assurances given to the Greek people. 
He was told that the accession of M. Venizelos could mean 
nothing else but war : his Majesty knew it : having 
accepted Venizelos, he must accept his foreign policy.^ 

Not less was the young king's shock at another act of 
the new Government — the suspension, by a Royal Decree, 
of the irremovability of judges which is expressly guaran- 
teed by the Constitution. " They accused my father of 

1 Regnault, pp. 100-2 ; Jonnart, p. 184 ; The Morning Post, 
29 June, 1917. 

^ Jonnart, pp. 185-90. 
3 Ibid, pp. 191-3, 193-6. 



206 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

violating the Constitution," he said to M. Jonnart, " and 
the first thing they ask me to do is to \dolate it." So 
acute an interpreter of Constitutional Law could have 
small difficulty in disposing of these scruples. He ex- 
plained to the young monarch that he could sign the 
decree without any compunction : the Constituent 
Assembly which would be elected by and by to revise the 
Constitution would legitimatize everything. He went on 
to give him a httle, simple lecture on the elements of 
Constitutional Verity, its theory and its practice : " In a 
short time," he concluded suavely, " Your Majesty will 
know on this subject as much as any of your Ministers," — 
whenever he experienced the need of further instruction, 
he only had to call the High Commissioner, who promised 
to come and solve his perplexities in a trice. ^ 

The soundness of the instruction might be questionable. 
But the source from which it came gave it unquestionable 
weight. 

By the time M. Jonnart left Athens (7 July), he had 
every reason to feel gratified at the complete success of his 
efforts. France's protege was installed at the head of the 
Hellenic Nation, ready to lead it forth by her side ; the 
regular working of Constitutional institutions was assured ; 
and the foundations of a democratic government were well 
and truly laid. In all history it would be difficult to find 
a more signal instance of brute force and bad faith triumph- 
ing in the name of Law and Verity. 

^ Jonnart, pp. 194-5- 



CHAPTER XX 

IT is not my intention to give a minute and consecu- 
tive account of the abnormal state which prevailed 

in Greece during a period of more than three years. 
I will, for once, flatter its authors by imitating their 
summary methods. 

M. Venizelos, hating monarchy, yet unable to dispense 
with it ; despising democracy, yet obhged to render it 
Up-homage ; maintained his own unlimited power by the 
same system of apparent liberty and real violence by which 
he had attained it. The semblance of a free Constitution 
was preserved in all its forms : Crown, ParUament, Press, 
continued to figure as heretofore. But each only served 
to clothe the skeleton of a dictatorship as absolute as that 
of any Caesar. King Alexander, without experience or 
character, weak, frivolous and plastic, obediently signed 
every decree presented to him. When recourse to the 
Legislature was thought necessary, the Chamber per- 
functorily passed every Bill submitted to it. The news- 
papers were tolerated as long as they refrained from 
touching on essentials. 

At the very opening of Pariiament, for so we must call 
this illegitimate assembly, the King, in a Speech from the 
Throne written by M. Venizelos, expounded his master's 
policy, external and internal. Externally, Greece had 
" spontaneously offered her feeble forces to that belUgerent 
group whose war aims were to defend the rights of nationali- 
ties and the Hberties of peoples."^ Internally, she would 
have to be purified by the removal of the staunchest 
adherents of the old regime from positions of trust and 
influence. But neither of these operations could be 
carried out save under the reign of terror known as martial 
law. Parliament, therefore, voted martial law ; and 
M. Venizelos, " irritated by the arbitrary proceedings " 
^ For the full text of the Speech, see The Hesperia, lo Aug., 191 7. 

207 



208 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

of the Opposition, which protested against the restrictions 
on pubhc opinion, " emphasised the fact that the Govern- 
ment was determined to act with an iron hand and to 
crush any attempt at reaction."^ 

Never was promise more faithfully kept. Within the 
Chamber it soon became a parliamentary custom to 
refute by main force. Sometimes Liberal Deputies 
volunteered for this service ; sometimes it was performed 
by the Captain of the Premier's Cretan Guard, who of 
course had no seat in the House, but who held a revolver 
in his hand. 

Out of Parliament the iron hand made itself felt through 
the length and breadth of the country. 

With a view to " purging and uphfting the judiciary 
body " and " securing Justice from political interference," ^ 
all the courts were swept clean of Royalist magistrates, 
whose places were filled with members of the Liberal 
Party. In this way the pernicious connexion between the 
judicial and pohtical powers, aboHshed in 1909— perhaps 
the most beneficial achievement of the Reconstruction 
era — was re-established, and Venizehsm became an indis- 
pensable quahfication for going to law with any chance of 
obtaining justice. 

An equally violent passion for purity led at the same 
time, and by a process as imconstitutional as it was un- 
canonical, to ecclesiastical reforms, whereby the Holy 
S^mod was deposed and an extraordinary disciplinary 
court was erected to deal with the clerical enemies of the 
new regime, especially with the prelates who took part in 
the anathematization of ]\L Venizelos. Only five bishops 
were found in Old Greece competent or compHant enough 
to sit on this tribunal ; the other seven came from Mace- 
donia, Crete, and Mytilene, though those dioceses were 
under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople, 
whose sanction was neither asked nor given. With the 
exception of six, five of whom belonged to the disciphnary 
court, all the prelates of the Kingdom were struck by it : 
some were degraded and turned out to subsist as they 
might, on charity or by the sale of their holy vestments ; 
others were sentenced to humiUating pmiishments ; and 

1 The Morning Post, 9 Aug., 1917. 

2 Speech from the Throne. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 209 

where no plausible excuse for a trial could be discovered, 
exile or confinement was inflicted arbitrarily. On the 
other hand, as many as repented received plenary absolu- 
tion. For instance, the Bishops of Demetrias and Gytheion 
were deprived for having cursed M. Venizelos ; but on 
promising in future to preach the gospel according to him, 
they were not only pardoned, but nominated members of 
the second disciplinary court created to continue the 
purification of the Church. Even more instructive was the 
case of the Metropohtan of Castoria who was tried, con- 
victed, and confined in a monastery, but after recanting 
his pohtical heresies was retried, unanimously acquitted, 
and reinstated. All this, in the words of the Speech 
from the Throne, " to restore the prestige of the 
Church." 

Side by side went on the reform of every branch of the 
Administration. All the Prefects, and many lesser 
functionaries, were discharged. Schoolmasters and 
schoolmistresses were dismissed by the hundred. The 
National University, the National Library, the National 
Museum, the National Bank, underwent a careful disin- 
fection. In every Department the worst traditions of the 
spoils system prevalent before 1909 were revived and 
reinvigorated. Other measures marked an improvement 
on tradition. Some two thousand Army and Navy 
officers, from generals and admirals downwards, were put 
on the retired list or under arrest. And an almost hys- 
terical desire manifested itself to strike terror into every 
civilian whom his opinions rendered objectionable and his 
position dangerous to the new order : tactics the full 
brutahty of which was revealed in the treatment of M. 
Venizelos 's principal adversaries. 

M. Rufos, a former Cabinet Minister, languished in the 
Averoff gaol from 1917 until the spring of 1920, when the 
Athenian newspapers announced his release. About the 
same time M. Esslin, an ex-President of the Chamber, who 
had been imprisoned at the age of seventy-eight in the 
Syngros gaol, was released by death. 

All the members of the Skouloudis Cabinet, with the 

exception of Admiral Coundouriotis, Minister of Marine* 

who had afterwards proved his patriotism by enlisting 

under the Cretan's banner, were arraigned for high treason, 

14 



210 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

referring mainly to the surrender of Fort Rupel. The 
preliminary examination dragged on from year to year and 
produced only evidence wliich established the innocence 
of the accused.^ One of them, ex-Premier Ralhs, in April 
1920, after being for years hbelled as a traitor, suddenly 
found himself exempted by Royal Decree from further 
persecution, because at that time M. Venizelos conceived 
the hope that this statesman might be induced to under- 
take the leadership of an Opposition accepting his regime. 
The rest, particularly M. Skouloudis and M. Dragoumis, 
one aged eighty-two and the other seventy-seven, after a 
long confinement in the Evangehsmos Hospital, remained 
to the end under strict surveillance, \vith gendarmes 
guarding their houses and dogging their footsteps. 

The Lambros Cabinet was similarly harassed, until one 
of its members turned Venizelist and three others died ; 
among the latter M. Lambros himself and his Minister for 
Foreign Affairs, M. Zalocostas. Both these gentlemen, 
though in poor health, had been confined on desolate 
islets of the Archipelago, where they were kept without 
proper medical attendance or any of the comforts which 
their condition required, and were only brought home to 
expire. 

In each case — as also in that of the soldiers responsible 
for the surrender of the Cavalla garrison, whose " treason- 
able " conduct became Ukewise the subject of judicial 
investigation — ^trial was sedulously deferred by a variety 
of ingenious contrivances ; nothing being more remote 
from the Government's mind than an intention to draw 
the truth into the light. The motive of these proceedings 
doubtless was one of pohcy chiefly — to ruin the enemies 
of the regime in public esteem by branding them as traitors, 
even if no conviction could be obtained. But poUcy was 
not the only element . To j udge by the harshness displayed, 
there was the personal factor, too. M. Venizelos had had a 
feud with these men and had vanquished them. They 
were men whom, all things considered, it was more a 
shame to fight than an honour to vanquish — and they were 
humbled : they were in his power. For a proud spirit 
that would have been enough ; it was not enough for 

1 It also brought to light documents of real historic value, such as 
the dispatches included in the White Booh (Nos. 70 foil.). 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 211 

M. Venizelos. He acted as if he wanted to enjoy their 
hmnihation, and because he had them down to profit by 
their helplessness. 

Identical treatment could not be meted out to those 
in Corsica and Switzerland, though some of them were 
sentenced to death by default for conspiring against M. 
Venizelos. But all that could be done from a distance to 
embitter their lot was done. Whilst at home the blackest 
calumnies were thrown upon them : in exile they were 
pursued by the same bhght. Special attention was 
directed to the " arch-traitor." He had been dethroned 
and expatriated ; but this was not enough. His pension 
was cut off. He and all the members of his family, with the 
exception of Prince George, who stayed in Paris, were 
forbidden to visit Entente coimtries, even for the purpose 
of attending the death-bed of a relative. Entente subjects 
visiting Switzerland were forbidden to go near them : 
lest any particle of the truth should percolate. Until the 
end of the War they Hved segregated, shunned, and spied 
upon like malefactors. During the Liberal regime in 
Greece, while Itahan and Swiss hotels flourished all the 
year round on Royahst refugees, RoyaUst exiles populated 
the semi-desert islands of the Archipelago : they were 
gathered in batches and shipped off — persons of every 
degree, from general officers whose guilt was attachment 
to their King, down to poor people convicted of owning 
the King's portrait. For the possession of a portrait of 
Constantine supplied one of the most common proofs 
of " ill-will towards the estabhshed order " {dysmeneia 
kata tou kathestotos) — a new crime invented to meet a new 
constitutional situation. It extended to the utmost 
confines of the kingdom. As the farmers were at work in 
the fields, gendarmes raided and ransacked their cottages 
for such portraits ; butchers and fishmongers were haled 
before courts-martial for hke indications of ill-will ; and — 
matter for laughter and matter for tears are inseparable 
in modern Greek history (perhaps in all history) — one met 
a cabman beaten again and again for calhng his horse 
" Cotso " (diminutive of " Constantine "), or a woman 
dragged to the police-station because her parrot was heard 
whistUng the Constantine March. Volumes would be 
needed to record the petty persecutions which arose from 



212 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the use of that popular name : suffice it to say that prudent 
parents refrained from giving it to their children. 

If enemies had to be frightened by every exhibition of 
severity, it was not less imperative to gratify friends by 
every mark of generosity. As already noted, a Mixed 
Commission had been appointed under the old regime to 
indemnify out of the pubhc purse the Venizehsts who 
suffered during the Athens disturbances of i and 2 Decem- 
ber, 1916. This body, after the expulsion of the King, 
was remodelled by the substitution of a Venizehst for the 
Royahst Greek member ; was authorized to enlarge its 
pur\dew so as to cover all losses occasioned, directly or 
indirectly, by Royahst resentment throughout the King- 
dom throughout the six months' blockade — including 
even the cases of persons who, compelled to flee the country, 
were torpedoed in the course of their voyage ; and was 
invested with powers of deciding unfettered by any legisla- 
tion or by any obligation to give reasons for its decisions. 
Thanks to their unlimited scope and discretion, the Com- 
missioners, after rejecting some 2,500 claims as fraudulent, 
were still able to admit 3,350 claims and to aUot damages 
representing a total sum of just under seven million 
drachmas.^ 

The number of old adherents confirmed in the faith 
through this expedient, however, was as nothing to the 
legions of proselytes won by the creation of new Govern- 
ment posts of every grade in every part of the Kingdom, 
by the facihties afforded in the transaction of all business 
over which the State had any control — which under 
existing conditions meant all important business — and by 
the favours of various sorts that were certain to reward 
devotion to the cause. Beside the steadily growing swarm 
of native parasites, profiteers, jobbers and adventurers 
who throve on the spoils of the pubhc, marched a less 
numerous, but not less ravenous, host of foreign financiers, 
concession and contract hunters, to whom the interests of 
the State were freely bartered for support to the party in 
the Entente capitals. 

The economic exhaustion caused by this reckless waste 
of national wealth, in addition to the necessary war ex- 

^ Rapport official de la Commission mixte des indeinnitis, Paris, 
1919. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 213 

penditure, was concealed at the time partly by credits 
furnished to M. Venizelos in Paris and London, and partly 
by an artificial manipulation of the exchange for his sake. 
It became apparent when these poUtical influences ceased 
to interfere with the normal working of financial laws. 
Then the Greek exchange, which at the outbreak of the 
European War stood at 26 or 27 drachmas to the pound 
sterling, and later was actually against London, dropped 
to 65, and by a rapid descent reached the level of 155. 
Thus in the domain of finance, as in every other, the 
valuable reconstructive acliievement of 1909 — which had 
led to the transformation of a deficit of from ten to twelve 
millions into a surplus of fifteen milHons and to the accu- 
mulation of deposits that enabled the Greek exchange to 
withstand the shock of several conflicts — was demolished 
by its own architect. 

The illusion that M. Venizelos had the nation behind 
him was diligently kept up by periodical demonstrations 
organized on his behalf : joy bells announced to the 
Athenians his home-comings from abroad, the destitute 
refugees harboured at the Piraeus were given some pocket 
money and a free ticket to attend him up to the capital, 
the cafes at the bidding of the poHce disgorged their 
loafers into the streets, and the army of genuine partisans 
thus augmented with auxiharies, accorded their Chief a 
reception calculated to impress newspaper readers in 
France and England. But observers on the spot knew that 
the " national enthusiasm " was as hollow as a drum, 
which under the manipulation of an energetic minority 
could be made to emit a considerable amount of noise ; 
that the demonstrators to a large extent were a stage 
crowd which could be moved rapidly from place to place 
and round the same place repeatedly ; that since the 
schism the great Cretan had loomed small in his own 
country and that he had grown less by his elevation. 

Such terrorism of opponents and favouritism of ad- 
herents ; such encouragement of oppression and connivance 
at corruption ; such a prostitution of justice ; such a 
cynical indifference to all moral principle — unparalleled 
even in the history of Greece — could not but make the 
Cretan's rule both odious and despicable. What made it 
more hateful still in the eyes of the people was the fact 



214 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

that it had been imposed upon them by foreign arms, and 
what made it more contemptible still was the fact that it 
fimctioned mider false pretences. As free men, the Greeks 
resented the violence done to their liberty ; but as intel- 
ligent men they would have resented open violence less than 
a profanation of the name of liberty that added mockery 
to injury and administered a daily affront to their intelli- 
gence. There was yet a spirit of resistance in the country 
which would not be crushed, and a fund of good sense 
which could not be deceived. If they formerly anathema- 
tized M. Venizelos as a traitor, the masses now execrated 
him as a tyrant : a mean and crafty bully without bowels 
of mercy who gave licence to his followers to commit every 
species of oppression and exploitation in the interest of 
party. 

Such were the feelings with which the very name of 
Venizelos inspired the mass of the people. And that the 
mass of the people was in the main right can scarcely be 
contested. It would, of course, be absurd to hold M, 
Venizelos directly responsible for every individual act of 
oppression and corruption, most of which occurred during 
his absences from the country and of which he was not 
cognizant. But it was he who had initiated both oppres- 
sion and corruption. M. Jonnart's proscriptive lists were 
really M. Venizelos 's, who had long since made his own 
enemies pass for enemies to the Entente. The " purifica- 
tion " of the public ser\aces, as well as the prosecutions, 
the imprisonments and deportations of eminent personages, 
some of whom died of the hardships and privations they 
underwent, were his owm doing. The multipHcation of 
offices and officials began with his creation, at the very 
outset, of two new Ministries ; a measure to which even 
King Alexander demurred when the list of M. Venizelos 's 
Cabinet was presented to him.^ Nor is there upon record 
a single case in which the Chief seriously attempted either 
to restrain or to punish his subordinates. In truth, he was 
not free to do so. He was bound to the system he had 
brought into being and was irretrievably committed to 
all its works. 

A man who gains supreme power against the wishes of 

^ Jonnajt, p. 183 : " A clean sweep in Greece." — The Daily 
Chronicle, 2 July. 1917 — an outline of M. Venizelos's programme. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 215 

the majority, and only with the consent of a faction, cannot 
maintain himself in it except by force and bribery. He 
must coerce and corrupt. Moreover, to rule without a 
rival, he must surround himself with men vastly inferior 
to him both in talent and in virtue : men who, in return 
for their obsequious servility, must be humoured and 
satisfied. Whenever such a usurpation occurs, all the 
maxims upon which the welfare and freedom of a com- 
munity normally rest are annihilated, and the reign of 
profligacy and of tyi-anny inevitably supervenes : a regime 
bom in party passion must live for purely party ends. 

We may break or circumvent all laws, save the eternal 
and immutable law of cause and effect.^ 

The best of M. Venizelos's followers sincerely regretted the 
unceasing persecution of their adversaries : they saw that 
stability could not be attained without conciliation and 
co-operation ; but they did not see how clemency could be 
combined with safety. The thousands of officers and 
officials who had been turned out of their posts, and the 
politicians who were kept out of office found employment, 
and the private individuals who had suffered for their 
"ill-will towards the estabhshed order" relief in plotting 
and intriguing : there was so much unrest that the 
authorities had to use severe measures. 

M. Venizelos himself wished to make his administration 
milder and cleaner and to broaden its basis — he was even 
credited with the one joke of his life in this connexion : 
" I will yet head anti-Venizelism." But the tiling was 
beyond his power : he had not a sufficient following in 
the country to replace armed force ; and he dared not 
trust the Royalists with a share in the government for 
fear lest they should use it against him. None, indeed, 
was more painfully conscious of the hate for him which 
every month increased in the breasts of his countrymen 
than M. Venizelos himself. From the very beginning of 
the schism he had assumed a prophylactic in the form of a 
cuirass; 2 and since his installation he neglected none of 

1 There have been usurpers, like OUver Cromwell, who managed 
to temper tyranny with probity ; but their cases are exceptional 
and their success only a matter of degree. 

2 An article of this kind was found in his house after the fighting 
of 2 Dec, 1916. 



21G GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the precautions requisite for his personal security. During 
his rare sojourns in Athens he always went about escorted 
by his Cretan guards ; while on the roof of a building 
facing his house stood two machine-guns, " for," as a 
witty Athenian informed an inquisitive stranger, " the 
protection of minorities." 

In general, it is true, the plotting and intriguing which 
permeated the country were too fatuous to be dangerous. 
But every now and then they took on formidable shape. 
In November, 1919, a carefully organized miUtary con- 
spiracy at Athens only miscarried through the indiscretion 
of a trusty but tipsy sergeant. Among the letters inter- 
cepted and produced at the trial was one from a Royalist 
exile in Italy to another at home. The writer, a lady, 
reported her brother as wondering how anybody in Greece 
could fail to understand that there no longer existed such 
things as a Government and an Opposition, but only 
tyrants and tyrannized over, who worked, the former to 
maintain their arbitrary authority, the latter to shake it 
off and recover their liberty. The work of neither could, 
in the nature of things, be carried on according to any 
constitutional rule or law. He went on to argue that, 
under such conditions, deeds which would otherwise be 
crimes were justified and even glorified by history as 
unavoidable fulfilments of a patriotic duty : force must 
be met by force. ^ 

So the national demorahzation inaugurated by foreign 
pressure went on being promoted by domestic tyranny ; 
and of cure there was no hope. Good men would not 
associate themselves with the Venizehst regime, because 
it was bad ; and even men by no means notorious for 
goodness shunned it, not because it was bad, but because 
they were shrewd enough to perceive it was too bad to 
last. 

1 The Heslia, 27 Dec. (O.S.), 1919. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE Liberal regime, having few roots in the soil and 
those rotten, could not but be ephemeral, unless the 
external force that had planted continued to uphold 
it : in which case M. Venizelos might have Uved to weep 
over the triumph of his cause and the ruin of his country. 
This contingency, however, was eliminated in advance by 
the clashing ambitions of the Allies — the real guarantee 
of Greek independence. Foreign interference, made pos- 
sible by the War, had to cease with it. And that was not 
all. M. Ribot, on i6 July, 1917, had declared in the French 
Senate that the changes brought about in Greece would 
have to be ratified by a Greek National Assembly. M. 
Venizelos also had, as we saw, stated on his advent that 
the 1915 Chamber was but a temporary solution : that in 
due time a Constituent Assembly would be elected to settle 
matters — a statement which he repeated shortly after- 
wards in Parliament : " The representatives of the Nation," 
he said, " watch with perfect calmness the internal evolu- 
tion of the political life of the country and wait for the 
removal of the obstacles which do not permit the immediate 
convocation of the National Assembly that will lay 
definitely the basis of the State." 

After nearly three years of " internal evolution," the 
time for the redemption of these pledges seemed to the 
people overdue. In vain did M. Venizelos endeavour to 
put off the day of trial by arguing that it was advisable 
to avoid the agitation inseparable from an election whilst 
Greece was still at war with Turkey, and by promising that 
the elections would follow close upon the signature of 
peace. It was natural that he should adopt this course : 
he could not but hope that the fruits of his foreign poUcy — 
fruits never even dreamt of a few years before — would 
reconcile the people to his domestic administration. It 
was equally natural that the people should be impatient : 

217 



218 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

Turkey may not sign peace for ages, they protested ; 
meanwhile are we to go on Hving under martial law ? 
They demanded the dissolution of the illegal and, at best, 
long superannuated Chamber, and fresh elections. The 
call for freedom grew louder, more insistent, more im- 
perious and dangerous, until M. Venizelos took a first 
tentative step towards a return to normality. 

On 6 May, 1920 — the day of the pubUcation of the 
Turkish Peace terms granted by the Allies at San Remo — 
a Royal Decree was issued at Athens aboHshing martial 
law. As at a signal, the Press turned its search-lights on 
the inroads made into the Constitution. Abuses and 
excesses hitherto held back by the Censorship gained 
pubhcity. Pohtical groups started organizing themselves 
for the electoral contest, with every grievance of the past 
as an incitement to action in the future. Most disturbing 
manifestation of all — ^though one that might have been 
foretold — streets and taverns resounded again with the 
song in which King Constantine was referred to as " The 
Son of the Eagle " leading his army to glory. E\idently 
the efforts to root up loyalism had not succeeded : far 
from it. 

While M. Venizelos grew less by his elevation. King 
Constantine was raised by his humihation to a condition, 
if not actually divine, half-way towards divinit3^ In 
many a house his portrait stood among the holy icons, 
with a fight burning before it, and the peasants worshipped 
it much as their pagan ancestors would have done. It 
was but the culmination of a process long at work — a 
process in which the historical element was strangely 
mingled with the m}i:hical.i Since the Balkan Wars, 
King Constantine had been identified in the peasant mind 
with the last Byzantine Basileus — his namesake, Con- 
stantine Palaeologus, slain by the Turks in 1453 ; who, 
according to a widely believed legend, lay in an enchanted 
sleep waiting for the hour when he should wake, break 
with his sword the chains of slavery, and replant the cross 

1 There is always so much of mystery surrounding the peasant 
mind, that its workings must often be accepted rather than under- 
stood. But those who wish to understand somewhat the psycho- 
logical process which led in antiquity to the deification of kings 
during their life-time could not do batter than study the cult of 
Constantine among the modern Greek peasantry. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 219 

on the dome of Saint Sophia. This singular fancy — 
whether a case of resurrection or of reincarnation, is not 
clear — ^was strengthened by the fact that his fall occurred 
on the very anniversary (29 May/ii June) of the day on 
which that unfortunate Emperor fell in the ramparts of 
Constantinople. The coincidence completed the associa- 
tion between the monarch who sacrificed his life to save 
his people from subjection and the monarch who, after 
leading his army in two victorious campaigns and doubling 
the extent of his country, did not hesitate to sacrifice his 
crown to save his people from disaster. Henceforth, 
even in minds not prone to superstition, the two events 
were linked by the same date, the mourning for the one 
rekindled the memory of the other, and King Constantine 
acquired a new and imperishable title to the gratitude of 
the nation. If all the efforts made in the past to blast his 
glory or to belittle his services had only heightened his 
popularity, all the efforts made since to blot out his image 
could only engrave it still deeper on the hearts of the 
people. His very exile was interpreted, symboHcally, 
as the enchanted sleep whence he would arise to fulfil the 
ancient prophecies. 

Mysticism apart, during the sad period preceding his 
departure, the affection of the masses for their sovereign, 
intensified by compassion, had assumed the quahty of 
veneration. Now that he was gone, they brooded over 
the wrongs which had driven him, a lawful and popular 
king, into exile : wrongs which suffered for their sakes 
enhanced his claims on their loyalty. They remembered 
wistfully the splendour of his victories, his manly courage, 
his saintly patience, and perhaps most of all his unfaihng 
kindness to the humble and the weak. This was the quality 
which drew men most strongly to Constantine, and the 
absence of which repelled them most from M. Venizelos.^ 
The experience of the last three years had helped to em- 
phasize the contrast : when the Eagle's Son was up above, 
there were few vultures in the land ; now there were 
vultures only. So the name of Constantine became a 
synonym for orderly government, loyalty to his person 
was identified with the principle of liberty, and the people 
who had never regarded Alexander as anything more than 

^ See Vice-Admiral Mark Kerr, in the Morning Post, 13 Dec, 1920, 



220 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

a regent, who cried after the departing monarch from the 
shore at Oropus : " You shall come back to us soon," 
hailed the return to normality as presaging the return of 
the legitimate sovereign as well as of a legal Constitu- 
tion. 

This, however, was the very last thing the powers that 
were contemplated even as a remote potentiality. For 
them the monarch in exile was dead ; and the sooner his 
memory was buried the better. Accordingly, a police 
circular, issued on 26 May, prohibited conversations 
favourable to the ex-king, pictures of the ex-king, songs in 
honour of the ex-king, cheers for the ex-king. And, 
these regulations having been found insufficient to curb 
royalist fervour, five days later M. Venizelos demanded 
and obtained from Parliament the re-establishment of 
martial law, on the ground that " talk about the return 
of the ex-king was calculated to excite public feeling ; 
and then the Opposition might have cause to blame the 
Government for not respecting the freedom of elections." 
The question of the ex-king, he argued, was utterly irrele- 
vant to the forthcoming contest : the people would not 
be called upon to elect a Constituent, but merely a Re- 
visionist Assembly : " Who has said there is to be a 
Constituent Assembly ? " he asked. 

The answer, of course, was easy : he himself had said so, 
on his installation in 1917. But lapses of memory are 
permissible to statesmen who mean business. M. Veni- 
zelos wanted a National Assembly v/hich would have 
powers to ratify the dethronement of the King, the sus- 
pension of the irremovability of judges, and all other 
revolutionary illegaUties, besides perhaps altering funda- 
mental articles of the Constitution — such as the right of 
the Crown to appoint and dismiss Ministers and to dissolve 
Parhaments — powers which essentially belong to a Con- 
stituent Assembly. But he wanted it to be merely 
Revisionist. The paradox made havoc of his logic ; but 
it no way affected his purpose ; which was that, while as 
Constituent in its nature the Assembly should effect any 
alterations in the government of the country that he 
desired, as Revisionist in name it would not be competent 
to discuss the restoration of the King, and, if it proved 
recalcitrant, would be subject to dissolution by the execu- 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 221 

live. Consistency and M. Venizelos had been divorced 
long ago, and the decree was now to be made absolute. 

While these eccentricities prevailed at home, abroad 
the gamester-spirit of the Cretan scored its crowning 
triumph. By the Treaty of Sevres (lo Aug., 1920), which 
embodied the territorial arrangements already made at 
San Remo, Greece obtained practically the whole of 
Thrace outside the enclave of Constantinople, and a man- 
date over Smyrna and its hinterland. No doubt, this 
enormous extension of the kingdom, though still largely 
problematical, appealed to that compound of idealism 
and greed (mostly greed) which constitutes Hellenic, as 
it does all other, Imperialism. But it did not fully com- 
pensate for the suppression of popular liberties within its 
frontiers. Except among the followers of M. Venizelos 
the national aggrandisement evoked but little enthusiasm : 
" What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ? " wrote one of the Opposition 
leaders, voicing a widespread sentiment — a sentiment 
which, only two days after the publication of the Treaty 
{12 Aug.), found sinister expression. As he was about to 
leave Paris, M. Venizelos was shot at and sUghtly wounded 
by two Greek ex-officers. The assailants, on being 
arrested, declared that their object had been " to free 
Greece from its oppressor and to ensure freedom for their 
fellow-citizens."^ 

The Paris outrage had a sequel at Athens, as significant 
and more tragic. ThefollowersofM. Venizelos, like those 
of King Constantine, included a set of fanatics who preached 
that the salvation of the country demanded the extirpation 
of their adversaries. To these zealots the moment seemed 
propitious for putting their doctrine into practice. 
" Hellenes ! " cried one of their journals, " our great 
Chief, our great patriot, the man who has made Greece 
great and prosperous, the man who has made us proud to 
be called Greeks, has been murdered by the instruments of 
the ex-King. Hellenes, rise up all of you, and drive the 
murderers out of the fatherland." The Hellenes in 
general remained unmoved. But some gangs of hooHgans 
did rise up (13 Aug.) and, under the eyes of the pohce and 
the gendarmerie, wrecked a number of Royalist newspaper 
^ The Daily Mail, Aug. 13, 1920, 



222 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

offices, clubs, cafds, and sacked the houses of four prominent 
anti-VenizeUst statesmen. The authorities, on their side, 
had a dozen leaders of Opposition groups thrown into 
prison and, pending their con\'iction, M. Repouhs, a 
Minister who in the absence of M. Venizelos acted as his 
Deputy, declared that the attempt on the Premier formed 
part of a plot long-planned for the overthrow of the regime : 
it had failed, but the heads of the culprits would fall without 
fail. In fact, one of the Opposition leaders — Ion 
Dragoumis, son of the ex-Premier of that name — was 
assassinated by the Cretan guards who had arrested him. 
The others, after being kept in sohtary confinement for 
twenty-four days, had to be released for want of any 
incriminating evidence. 

M. Venizelos in Paris, when he heard of the riots, was 
reported as being beside himself with righteous indignation ; 
and he sent a strongly-worded telegram to the Government, 
expressing the fear that part of the responsibiUty for the 
disorders rested upon its organs, and assuring it that he 
should exact full account from everyone concerned. ^ But 
when he returned home he pubhcly embraced M. Repoulis, 
who explained in the Chamber to the entire satisfaction of 
his Chief that the Government had been overawed and 
very nearly overthrown by the extremists in its own 
ranks (8 Sept.). 

Everything that could be done — short of a massacre — 
to disorganize and to intimidate the Opposition having 
been done, martial law was suspended (7 Sept.), and the 
question of Elections began to engage M. Venizelos's atten- 
tion seriously. It was a trial which involved his political 
life or death, and therefore required the utmost care and 
vigilance : one ill-considered step, one omission on his 
part might send him to his doom. 

He began with the enfranchisement of Thrace (g Sept.). 
This province, still under military occupation and martial 
law, was to vote : further, a pohtical frontier was erected 
between it and the rest of Greece, which only those possess- 
ing a special pass could cross, whilst a rigorous censorship 
kept all anti-Venizelist newspapers out of it ; and, lastly, 
it was enacted, for the benefit of an electorate alien in its 
majority and unable to read or write Greek, that the 
1 Eleutheros Typos, 5/18 Aug., 1920. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 223 

Thracian votes, contrary to the general rule, should be 
polled by ballot paper, instead of by a ball. 

Another Bill enabled the army on active service, for the 
first time in the history of Greece, to participate in elections, 
the assumption being that among the soldiers VenizeUst 
feehng predominated, or that, at all events, they would 
be controlled by their of&cers. 

As exceptional importance has always attached to the 
district and city of Athens — " which," M. Venizelos said, 
" symbolizes the very soul of the country, "^ — it was 
incumbent upon him to pay special attention to this area. 
The difficulty was that the actual population was no- 
toriously unsympathetic. M. Venizelos hastened to over- 
come this difficulty by three strokes of the pen : 18,000 
refugees from all parts who lived on the Ministry of Public 
Relief were enrolled as Athenian citizens ; to these were 
added some 6,000 Cretan gendarmes and policemen ; and, 
to make up the deficiency, 15,000 natives of Smj^rna, 
supposed to have earned Greek citizenship by volunteering 
in the war, had their names inscribed on the electoral fists 
of Attica. 

There followed promises and warnings. On the one 
hand, the people were promised fresh labour legislation, 
the conversion of the great landed estates into small 
holdings, and public works on a large scale. On the 
other hand, they were warned that an adverse vote from 
them would have disastrous consequences for the country : 
Greece had been aggrandized by the Allies for the sake of 
M. Venizelos ; if she discarded him, she would forfeit their 
goodwill and her territorial acquisitions. But M. Venizelos 
and his partisans did not trust altogether to the practical 
sense and the Imperialist sensibilities of the people. 

For months past the extremists among his followers 
openly threatened that, if by any mishap Venizelos did not 
win the day after all, they would make a coup d'Hat and 
strike terror into the hearts of their adversaries. This 
threat, which primarily presented itself as an extravagance 
of irresponsible fanaticism, was on 7 September officially 
espoused by M. Venizelos, who declared in Parliament 
that, should perchance his adversaries obtain a majority 
in the new Assembly, and should that Assembly decide 
^ The New Europt, 29 March, 1917, p. 327. 



224 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

to convoke a Constituent Assembly, and should this 
Constituent Assembly invite King Constantine back, the 
" Reaction " would find itself confronted with the hostiUty 
of a large poUtical party which had become the mortal 
enemy of the ex-king ; and he went on to foreshadow a 
fresh schism in the army : that is, ci\al war. Encouraged 
by so solemn a sanction, Venizehst candidates — notably 
at Tyrnavo in Thessaly and Dervenion in Argolis — told 
their constituents without any circumlocution that, in the 
event of a defeat at the polls, the Government would not 
surrender its power, but would maintain it through the 
Army of National Defence, which was pledged to a new 
Revolution : the Parliamentary system would cease to 
function even in name, and many a maUgnant would swing. 

These appeals to the sovereign people, published in the 
Royalist and not contradicted by the Venizehst Press, 
\^^ll doubtless seem startUng for a Government whose 
mission was to establish democratic liberties. But they 
were justified by necessity. ^M. Venizelos and his partisans 
could not afford to be very fastidious : their political 
existence was at stake : they must make every effort, and 
summon every resource at their command.' Anyone who 
was in Athens at that time and saw the Cretan guards, 
often with the Premier's photograph pinned on their 
breasts, assault such citizens as displayed the olive-t^^^g 
(emblem of the Opposition), or saw the gendarmes, who 
patrolled the streets \vith fixed bayonets, protect the 
excesses of Venizehst bravoes, would appreciate how far 
the Government was prepared to stoop in order to survive. 

In the midst of these electoral acti\'ities. King Alexander 
died — of blood poisoning caused by the bite of a pet 
monkey. Ahve he had neither exercised nor been wanted 
to exercise any influence over the destinies of his country : 
he had simply played the part required by the cast in which 
a whimsical fortune had placed him. His death proved 
of more importance, inasmuch as it forced the question 
of the throne upon j\I. Venizelos irresistibly : the vacancy 
had to be filled. Anxious to perpetuate the comedy, 
M. Venizelos sought a successor in a still younger and less- 
experienced scion of the dynasty : Prince Paul, a lad in 
his teens, who refused the offer on the ground that, until 
his father and his eldest brother renounced their rights, 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 225 

he could not lawfully ascend the throne. After threatening 
to change the dynasty rather than admit any discussion 
on the restoration of King Constantine, M. Venizelos, by 
one of those swift turns characteristic of him, suddenly 
made that restoration the main issue of the Elections. 
He challenged the Opposition to this test of the real wishes 
of the Greek people. The Greek people, he said, should 
be given the chance of deciding whether it will have 
Constantine back ; and if it so decided, he himself would go. 

The Opposition, which consisted of no fewer than sixteen 
different groups united only by a common desire to get rid 
of the Cretan Dictator, would fain dechne the challenge. 
Some of the leaders were ardent Royalists ; others were 
very lukewarm ones ; and others still could hardly be 
described as Royalists at aU. Generally speaking, the 
pohticians out of office had found in the cause of Constan- 
tine a national badge for a party feud. Moreover, they 
reahzed that the question of Constantine possessed an 
international as well as a national aspect, and they did not 
wish to compromise the future of Greece and their own ; 
which would have been nothing else than stepping into 
the very pit M. Venizelos had dug for them. But neither 
could they repudiate Constantine without losing popular 
support : to the Greek people the main issue of the fight 
was indeed what M. Venizelos made it. 

At length the day of trial arrived : a Sunday (14 Nov.) — 
a day of leisure in a land of universal suffrage. From an 
early hour people of all classes thronged the polhng- 
stations quietly. They had clamoured for a chance of 
expressing their sentiments ; yet now that the chance 
had come, they took it with an extraordinary composure. 
Even to the most expert eye the electors' demeanour 
gave no indication of their sentiments : the oUve-twig had 
very curiously withered out of sight. Nor did the be- 
haviour of the voters in the last three years afford any clue 
to the use they would make of their present opportunity. 
Greeks are past masters of simulation and dissimulation. 
Openly some might have pretended friendship to the 
Venizelist regime from hopes of favour, others again 
dissembled hostility through fear ; but the voting was 
secret. 

Both Government and Opposition shared the suspense, 
15 



226 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

though the Goveinment anticipated an overwhelming 
majority ;i which was natural enough, since all the 
advantage seemed on its side. 

Presently the votes were coimted — and " it was ofhcially 
announced that the Government had been mistaken in 
its anticipations." The magnitude of the mistake appeared 
on the pubhcation of the figures : 250 seats to 118 : the 
Royalists had swept the polls, to the astonishment of all 
parties, including their own.^ The very men who had 
fought at the bidding of M. Venizelos had pronounced 
themselves against him : having fulfilled their duty as 
soldiers, they vindicated their right to live as free citizens. 
His own constituency had rejected him. And would the 
rout stop there ? Among the millions who had submitted 
to his rule with sullen irritation there were many whose 
hearts swelled with rage, in whom old wounds rankled 
and festered : might not these men now have recourse to 
other weapons than the vot^ in order to get even with the 
bully ? 

For a moment M. Venizelos felt stupefied : the edifice 
that had seemed so soHd was collapsing about him, and he 
was in danger of being buried under the ruins. Then he 
wisely stole out of the country he had done his best to 
aggrandize and to disintegrate.^ 

The result of the elections was virtually an invitation 
to King Constantine to return and resume his crown. 
But the King, not content with an indirect verdict, wanted 
an explicit plebiscite ad hoc, clear of all other issues. The 
Alhes, after a conference in London, telegraphed (2 Dec.) 

^ " Even if the Opposition sweeps the Peloponnese and gains a 
majority in Acarnania and Corfu, it is still doubtful whether it will 
have 120 seats in the new Chamber, which will contain 369 
Deputies ; and the Venizelists anticipate that their opponents will 
emerge from the struggle with less than 100 Deputies." — The Times, 
15 Nov., 1920. 

^ The Daily Mail; The Evening News, 16 Nov, 1920 ; Reuter, 
Athens, 15 Nov. : " Not a single Venizelist was returned for Mace- 
donia and Old Greece, except in Epirus and Mgean Islands." 

^ We learn that his followers " urged upon him the advisability 
of a coup d'etat. It would have been the easiest thing in the world 
to carry out, and with so much at stake for Greece and for demo- 
cratic principles generally, it seemed justifiable." — " M. Venizelos 
at Nice," in The Times, 29 Nov., 1920. But, " fears are enter- 
tained, it is said, that the regular Army — which is strongly anti- 
Venizelist — may get out of hand." — The Daily Mail, 17 Nov. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 227 

to M, Rallis, the new Greek Premier, that they " had no 
wish to interfere in the internal affairs of Greece, but they 
felt bound to declare publicly that the restoration of the 
throne to a king whose disloyal attitude and conduct 
towards the Allies during the War caused them great 
embarrassment and loss could only be regarded by them 
as a ratification by Greece of his hostile acts."^ This 
message — yet another fruit of Franco-British compromise 
— ^was followed up (6 Dec.) by a second Note, enumerating 
the consequences, political and financial, of the Powers' 
displeasure. But it produced Httle effect : out of the 
1,013,724 electors who took part in the plebiscite (7 Dec), 
only 10,383 voted against the King.^ M. Rallis, in ac- 
quainting him with the result, stated that he considered 
it tantamount to a formal request from the country to the 
Sovereign to come into his own again, and invited him to 
respond to the clearly expressed wish of the nation. Which 
King Constantine did, nothing loth. 

Few of those who witnessed the event will ever forget it. 

On the eve of the King's return (18 Dec.) Athens could 
scarcely contain her emotion. All day long her beflagged 
streets rang with the cry : " Erchetai ! Erchetai I " (" He 
is coming ! He is coming ! ") — hardly anybody failed to 
utter it, and nobody dared to say " Then erchetai " {" He 
is not coming "), even if referring to an unpunctual friend. 
At night the song in which Constantine was alluded to as 
" The Son of the Eagle " echoed from one end of the 
illuminated city to the other. But this was only a 
preparation for next morning's welcome. 

Owing to stress of weather the cruiser carrying the 
King and Queen of the Hellenes was compelled to put 
in at Corinth, where the exiles landed. From that point 
to the capital their journey was a triumphal progress. 
The train moved slowly between lines of peasants who, 
their hands linked, accompanied it, shouting : " We have 
wanted him! We have brought him back!"" When 

^ The terms of the Note were communicated to the House of 
Commons by Mr. Bonar Law the same night. 

2 Reuter, Athens, 9 Dec, 1920. 

^ Another version of this refrain, which might be seen in crude 

lettering over a cafe at Phaleron, is : "So we willed it, and we 

brought him back " {Etsi to ethelame, kai ton epherame) — a distinct 

expression of the feeling that the people, by bringing back its 

i6 



228 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

the King stepped out at the station, officers fought a way 
to the carriage with blue and silver dressed postillions 
which waited for him and the Queen. He had to keep 
tossing from one hand to the other his baton, as men and 
women pressed upon him for a handshake. The carriage 
struggled forward, men and women clinging to its steps 
and running with it, trying to kiss the hands and feet of 
the royal pair, and baulked of this, kissing even the horses 
and the carriage itself. All the way dense masses of people 
pressed round the carriage, shouting : " He has come ! " 
or singing the chorus, " Again our King will draw the 
sword." An eye-witness had a vision of a soldier who, 
amid cries of " We will die for you, Godfather ! " clambered 
into the carriage head first and fell to kissing the knees of 
the King and Queen, while around people fainted and 
stretchers pressed through the crowd. ^ 

And so the fight for the soul of Greece ended in a 
victory for Constantine. 

The character of this prince has been painted in the 
most opposite colours, as must always be the case when 
a man becomes the object of fervent worship and bitter 
enmity. But the bare record of what he did and endured 
reveals liim sufficiently. His quahties speak through 
his actions, so that he who runs may read. His most 
conspicuous defect was a want of suppleness — a certain 
rigidity of spirit which, when he succeeded, was called 
firmness, and when he failed, obstinacy. Yet the charge 
so often brought against him, that he allowed himself to 
be misled by evil counsellors, shows that this persistence 
in his own opinion did not spring from egoism nor was 
incompatible with deference to the opinions of others. 
It arose from a deep sense of responsibihty : he stubbornly 
refused to deviate from his course when he believed that 
his duty to his country forbade deviation, and he readily 
laid down his crown when duty to his country dictated 
renunciation. For the rest, a man who never posed to his 
contemporaries may confidently leave his character to 
the judgment of posterity. 

As for M. Venizelos, history will probably say of him 

sovereign in the face of foreign opposition, asserted its own sove- 
reignty. 

^ See Tne Times, 20 Dec; The Daily Mail, 21 Dec, 1920. 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 229 

what it has said of Themistocles : Though he sincerely 
aimed at the aggrandizement of his country, and proved 
on some most critical occasions of great value to it, yet on 
the whole his intelUgence was higher than his morahty — 
a man of many talents and few principles, ready to employ 
the most tortuous and unscrupulous means, sometimes 
indeed for ends in themselves patriotic, but often merely 
for aggrandizing himself. By nature he was more fitted 
to rule in a despotic than to lead in a constitutional State. 
Had he been bom an emperor, his fertile genius 
might, unless betrayed by his restless ambition, have 
rendered his reign prosperous and his memory precious. 
As it is, in his career, with all its brilliance, posterity will 
find not so much a pattern to imitate as an example to 
deter. 



AFTERWORD 

IN default of a Providence whose intervention in 
human affairs is no longer recognized, there still is a 
Nemesis of history whose operations can scarcely be 
denied. International morahty, strange as the juxta- 
position of the two words may seem, exists no less than the 
law of gravity ; and a statesman who offends against the 
one must expect much the same catastrophe as an engineer 
who ignores the other. But it is not often that this law 
of retribution asserts itself so s\vaftly as it has done in the 
drama for which Greece supplied the stage to French 
statesmen during the last few years ; for it is not often that 
a Government in the pursuit of practical interests over- 
looks so completely moral principles, flouts so openly 
national sentiments, and, while priding itself on reahsm, 
shuts its eyes so consistently to reahties. 

The logic of French action is as above reproach, as its 
motives are beyond dispute. 

Nine decades ago the Due de Broghe clearly explained 
that the aim of France in assisting to liberate Greece from 
the Turkish yoke was to have in the Eastern Mediterranean 
an instrument of her own ambition : "a State disposed 
to turn her eyes constantly towards that Power who has 
made her free — to watch for us over the ports of the Levant, 
to guard with us the mouth of the Black Sea and the keys 
of the Bosphorus " ; — it followed that the greater the 
chent, the better for the patron's purpose. After under- 
going many fluctuations and modifications, this idea was 
revived at the time of the Balkan wars, when France, 
together with Germany, supported the Greek claim to 
Cavalla, and it was fostered to an unhealthy growth 
during the European War. Hence the identification of 
France with M. Venizelos, who stood for a pohcy of expan- 
sion at all hazards, and her hostility to King Constantine 
who, preferring safety to hazardous ventures, stood for 
Greece's right to shape her course without dictation from 
Paris any more than from Berhn. 

230 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 231 

By the methods which she employed, France succeeded 
in gaining Greece and losing the Greeks. Nothing else 
could have been expected : friends are sometimes to be 
won by good offices ; sometimes by the promise of good 
offices ; and sometimes by good words. They are seldom 
won by injuries, and by insults never. It is curious that 
so elementary a lesson in human nature should have been 
unknown to the able men who guided the policy and 
diplomacy of France during the War, who raised her 
miUtary prestige and re-established her position in the 
first rank of the European Powers. Yet it is a fact — 
a fact which can be easily verified by a reference to their 
utterances : they are upon record. Brute force, and 
brute force, and again brute force : such is the burden 
that runs through them all ; and it embodies a doctrine : 
the Greeks are Orientals and must be wooed with terror : 
on the notion, enunciated by an EngUsh humorist as a 
paradox, and adopted by French statesmen as an axiom, 
that terror sown in the Oriental heart will yield a harvest 
of esteem — even of affection. With this mad dogma 
nailed to her mast, France set out upon her voyage for the 
conquest of the Hellenic heart. It was the first of her 
mistakes — ^and it was accompanied by another. 

Even if Greece were willing to play the part of a French 
satelhte, she could not do so ; for her geographical situa- 
tion exposes her to the influence of more than one Power. 
Italy, who has her own ambitions in the Eastern Mediter- 
ranean, opposed during the War a pohcy the object of 
which was Greek expansion over territories coveted by 
herself and a readjustment of the balance of forces in 
favour of France ; and it was partly in order not to alienate 
Italy during the War that French statesmen wanted 
Greece to come in without any specified conditions, leaving 
the matter of territorial compensations for the time of 
settlement. Russia showed herself not less suspicious of 
French diplomacy for similar reasons. But it was with 
England chiefly that France had to reckon. In the past 
the rivalry between France and England in the Eastern 
Mediterranean, though often overshadowed by their 
common antagonism, first to Russia and subsequently to 
Germany, was a perennial cause of discord which kept 
Greece oscillating between the two Powers, 



282 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

During the War England, of necessity, lent France her 
acquiescence and even assistance in a work which she 
would rather not have seen done. But, once done, she 
endeavoured to secure such profit as was to be derived 
therefrom. The Greeks in Asia Minor — it was thought — 
could serve to check the Turks from troubling us in Meso- 
potamia and other parts of the Near and Middle East. 
Hence the Treaty of Sevres, which provided for the 
aggrandizement of Greece at the expense of the Ottoman 
Empire in Asia as well as in Europe, to the seeming satis- 
faction of both French and British interests. But the 
adjustment — even if it had been forced upon Turkey — 
could, by the nature of things, be only temporary. Owing 
to her geographical situation, Greece must inevitably 
move within the orbit of the Power who dominates the 
sea. 

Psychology accelerated a movement imposed by 
geography. While France based her action upon an 
Enghsh humorist's paradox, England based hers upon a 
French thinker's maxim : Lorsqu'on veut redouhler de 
force, il faut redouhler de grace. Although her diplomatic, 
military, and naval representatives did participate in 
every measure of coercion and intimidation as a matter 
of pohc3'', they (if we except the Secret Service gentry) 
never forgot the dictates of decency : they never, figura- 
tively, kicked the person whom they deemed it necessary 
to knock down. The ordinary British soldiers, too, for 
all the relaxation of moral rules natural in war, maintained 
throughout the campaign a standard of behaviour which 
contrasted so favourably with their comrades' that it 
earned them among the inhabitants of Macedonia the 
honourable nickname of " the maids." It was particu- 
larly noted during the fire which devastated Salonica that, 
while others took advantage of the turmoil to loot, the 
British soldier devoted himself wholly to rescuing. Some 
of these things were perhaps resented by our allies as 
weak, and some were ridiculed as naive ; but they must 
be judged by their effect. At the end of the War one 
nation was respected by the Greeks as much as the other 
was hated and despised. British prestige rose exactly 
in proportion as French prestige sank. And the object 
which France elected to seek, and sought in vain, by 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 233 

means of violence and terror, England attained by a con- 
duct which, if not more lawful, was much more graceful. 

Still, French statesmen counted on M. Venizelos — 
" I'honime politique qui incarne I'idee de la solidaritc des 
inter its fr unguis et grecs " — to keep his country on their 
side. And as in the first instance they had made the 
alliance conditional on his being placed in control, so now 
they made the benefits accruing from it to Greece dependent 
on his remaining in control. That M. Venizelos could not 
always remain in control does not seem to have occurred 
to them. Nor that he might not always be content to be 
a mere puppet in their hands. Murmurs at his pro- 
British leanings were indeed heard occasionally. But on 
the whole the Cretan possessed in an adequate measure the 
faculty of adapting himself to rival points of view, of 
making each Power feel that her interests were supreme 
in his regard, and of using the ambitions of both to promote 
his own. As long as he remained in control, France, with 
whatever reservations, felt sure of her share of influence. 

The collapse of M. Venizelos and the demand of the 
Greek people for King Constantine's return, came to French 
statesmen as a painful surprise. That they had for several 
years been laboriously building on illusions could not be 
disguised, and being made to look absurd before those of 
their own compatriots who had all along advocated a 
poUcy based on the preservation and exploitation of 
Turkey, rendered the situation doubly awkward. Unable 
to rise above personal pique, they would fain veto the 
return of a prince whom they hated and whom they had 
wronged beyond hope of concihation. England, however, 
free from petty animosities, and sensible that, under what- 
ever ruler, Greece would be with her, refused to sanction 
lawlessness in the midst of peace ; and her view that, if 
the Greeks wanted Constantine, it was their business and 
not ours, prevailed. But, on the other hand, by way of 
compromise, France obtained that he should return to an 
empty treasury, with foreign credits cut off, and the loans 
made by the AlHes to the Venizelist Government, to 
facilitate the waging of a common war against Turkey, 
revoked. 

It was an impossible position which King Constantine 
was called upon to face : a position none of his own making, 



234 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

yet one from which there was no retreat. The Greek 
people's imperiahsm had been roused. The leaders who 
once criticized M. Vcnizelos's Asiatic policy as a dangerous 
dream, opposed to economic, strategic, and ethnic realities, 
might still hold those views and mutter in secret that 
Smyrna would prove the grave of Greece ; but they no 
longer dared express them, out of deference to pubhc 
opinion. To the masses M. Venizelos's wild game of 
chance seemed vindicated by its results, and while they 
rejected the man they clung to his work. 

The Greek Government had no choice but to carry on the 
conflict under enormous disadvantages. As France antici- 
pated, with foreign credits cut off and a progressive fall 
in the exchange, the expense of maintaining a large army 
on a war footing proved too heavy for the National Ex- 
chequer. And that was not the worst. France, who 
since the Armistice had betrayed a keen jealousy of 
England's place in a part of the world in which she claims 
special rights, presently concluded a separate agreement 
with Turkey — an example in which she was followed by 
Italy — and gave the Turks her moral and material support 
in their struggle with the Greeks ; while England, though 
refusing to reverse her policy in favour of their enemies, 
contented herself with giving the Greeks only a platonic 
encouragement, which they were unwise enough to take for 
more than it was worth. 

Everyone knows the melanchol}^ sequel : our unhappy 
" allies," left to their own exhausted resources, were 
driven from the Asiatic territories which in common 
prudence they should never have entered ; and the over- 
seas Empire which M. Venizelos had conjured up vanished 
in smoke. 

The rout in Asia Minor had its repercussion in Greece. 
For nearly two years the people, though war-worn and 
on the edge of bankruptcy, bore the financial as they had 
borne the famine blockade, trusting that England would 
at any moment come forth to counter the vindictiveness 
of France, and sturdily resisted all the efforts of the 
Venizehst party to shake the stability of the Royahst 
regime : Constantine again appeared in their eyes as a 
victim of the Cretan's intrigues. But the loss of Ionia 
and the danger of the loss of Thrace ; the horror and 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 235 

despair arising from the sack of Smyrna, whence shiploads 
of broken refugees fied to the Greek ports ; all this, re- 
inforced by an idea that the maintenance of the King on 
the throne prevented the effective expression of British 
friendship and his fall would remove French hostility, 
created conditions before which questions of personalities 
for once faded into insignificance, and put into the hands 
of M. Venizelos's partisans an irresistible lever. 

On 26 September an army of 15,000 insurgent soldiers 
landed near Athens and demanded the abdication of the 
King. The loyal troops were ready to meet force by force. 
But the King, in order to avert a fratricidal struggle which 
would have dealt Greece the finishing stroke, forbade 
opposition and immediately abdicated, " happy," as he 
said, " that another opportunity has been given me to 
sacrifice myself once more for Greece." In fact, once more 
Constantine was made the scape-goat for disasters for which 
he was in no way responsible — disasters from which he 
would undoubtedly have saved his country, had he been 
allowed to pursue his own sober course. 

M. Venizelos would not go back to Athens until the 
excitement subsided, lest people should think, he said, 
that he had had any part in the revolution : but under- 
took the defence of the national interests in the Entente 
capitals. His mission was to obtain such support as would 
enable him to save Greece something out of the ruin which 
his insane imperialism had brought upon her, so that he 
might be in a position to point out to his countrymen that 
he alone, after the disastrous failure of Constantine, had 
been able to secure their partial rehabihtation. That 
accompUshed, he might then hope to become a perpetual 
Prime Minister or President. 

France made it quite clear that no changes in Greece 
could alter her policy : however satisfied she might be at 
the second disappearance of the antipathetic monarch, it 
should not be supposed that, even were a Repubhc to be 
set up, presided over by the Great Cretan, her attitude 
on territorial questions would be transformed : Thrace, 
after Ionia, must revert to Turkey. French statesmen 
longed for the complete demolition of their own handi- 
work. M. Poincar6, in 1922, was proud to do what the 
Due de BrogHe ninety years before scoffed at as an 



236 GREECE AND THE ALLIES 

unthinkable folly: " Abandonncr la Grece aujourd'hui, 
dctruire de nos propres mains I'onvrage que nos propres 
mains ont presque acheve I " 

England's expressed attitude was not characterized by 
a like precision. It is true that after the Greek debacle 
she dispatched ships and troops to prevent the Straits 
from falhng into the hands of the Turks ; but in the matter 
of Thrace she had already yielded to France : and how the 
restoration of Turkish rule in Europe can be reconciled 
with the freedom of the Straits remains to be seen. 

What the future may have in store for Greece and 
Turkey is a matter of comparatively small account. 
What is of great and permanent importance is the diver- 
gence between the paths of France and England revealed 
by the preceding analysis of events. 

From this anal3'sis have been carefully excluded such 
superficial dissensions as always arise between alhes after 
a war, and were especially to be expected after a war in 
which every national susceptibihty was quickened to a 
morbid degree : they belong to a different category from 
the profound antagonisms under consideration. These — 
whatever the philosopher may think of a struggle for 
domination — present a problem which British statesmen 
must face frankly. It is not a new problem ; but it now 
appears under a new form and in a more acute phase than 
it has ever possessed in the past — thanks to the success of 
the " knock-out blow " pohcy which governed the latter 
stages of the War. 

With the German power replaced by the French, the 
Russian for the moment in abeyance, French and ItaHan 
influences competing in Turkey, French and British aims 
clashing in the Arab regions wrested from Turkey — while 
indignation at Occidental interference surges in the minds 
of all the peoples of the Orient — the Eastern Mediterranean 
offers a situation which tempts one to ask \\hether the 
authors of that policy have not succeeded too well ? 
Whether in pursuing the success of the day — to which 
their personal reputations were attached — they did not 
lose sight of the morrow ? Whether they have not 
scattered the seed without sufficiently heeding the crop ? 
However that may be, unless this situation was clearly 
foreseen by its creators and provided for — a hypothesis 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 237 

which, with the utmost goodwill towards them, does not 
appear very probable—they have an anxious task — a 
task that, under these conditions, demands from British 
statesmanship more thinking about the Near Eastern 
question and the Greek factor in it than was necessary 
before 1914. 

As a first aid to an appreciation of the problem by the 
public — which the present crisis found utterly unprepared 
— it would have been well if the fundamental differences 
between the respective attitudes of France and England 
towards each other and towards the peoples concerned 
had been candidly acknowledged, and all pretence of 
Franco-British co-operation in the Near East abandoned. 
Lasting co-operation cannot be where there is neither 
community of interests nor consonance of ideas : where the 
loss of one party is welcomed as gain by the other, and the 
wisdom of the one in the eyes of the other is folly. Pious 
talk of a common Allied mission in the Near East has 
only served to obscure issues and to render confusion in 
the pubhc mind worse confounded. It was idle to make 
a mystery of the support given by France to the Turks 
and of her insistence on the revision of the Sevres Treaty — 
prehminary steps to her demand for the evacuation of 
Chanak and the consequent elimination of British sea- 
power. The object of these tactics was evident to every 
serious student of history : France pursues now the plan 
laid down by Louis XIV, continued by Napoleon, fitfully 
carried on throughout the nineteenth century, and facili- 
tated by her installation in Syria — the equivalent of the 
German Drang nach Osten : a plan incompatible with the 
safety of the British Empire in the East. This is the 
truth of the matter, and nothing has been gained by 
hiding it. 

The people who fought a ruinous war without quite 
knowing the ends aimed at, had a right to know at least 
the results obtained ; and after France's separate agree- 
ment with Turkey, the denial to them of any part of that 
knowledge could not be justified on any principle of honour 
or plea of expediency. 



INDEX 



ACHILLEION, 91 

Albania, Suggested partition of, 

19 

Alexander, King, 197, 203, 

205-7, 219, 224 
Andrew, Prince, 123, 200 
Asia Minor, Concessions to 

Greece in, 19, 22-26, 32, 

34. 35. 37. 221, 232. 
, Greeks driven from, 

234 
Athens, Naval demonstrations 

against, 82, 102, no, in 

, Fighting at, 159-161 

, Bombardment of, 160 

- — — , Occupation of, 204 

, Conspiracy at, 216 

, Riots at, 221, 222 

electorate, 223 

Austria and Greece, 9 

and Servia, 7, 17, 22 

Averoff, M., 183 
gaol, 209 

Balkan League, 4, 19, 20, 24, 

27 
Benazet, M., Negotiation of, 

146, 147, 150-152 
Blockades, 82, loi, 164, 172- 

176, 184 
Boulogne, Conference at, 140, 

185 
Bratiano, M., 22 
Briand, M., 76, 86, 89, 100-103, 

105, 116, 131, 132, 146 
Broglie, Due de, 188, 230, 235 
Bucharest Treaty, 7-9, 18 

, Conference at, 18 

Bulgaria and Greece, 7, 8, 21, 

23, 67 

Servia, 7, 17, 21, 62 

Turkey, 21, 52 

Central Powers, 27, 40 

Entente, 21, 28, 38, 

40. 43. 57. 60, 66, 144 
Btilow, Prince von, 47 
Callimassiotis, M., 92 
Calogeropoulos, M., Premier, 

124-132, 140, 192 

239 



Canea, 92, 128, 130, 132 
Castellorizo, 85, 86 
Castoria, Metropolitan of, 209 
Cavalla allotted to Greece, 10, 

230 
, Proposed cession of, to 

Bulgaria, 20, 23-25, 39, 

41-42 
surrendered to Germano- 

Bulgars, 11 8-21 
Cephalonia, 86, 177 
Cerigo, 177 
Chanak, 237 
Chios, 130 
Church, Greek, 175, 176, 208, 

209 
Churchill, Mr. Winston, 13 
Cochin, M. Denys, 8i 
Constantine, King : his popu- 
larity, I, 2. 75, 131. 175, 

198, 218-220 

policy, 5, 8-12, 

13, 14, 15, 19, 34, 35, 38, 

55, 81, 114, 124, 144, 146, 

150, 156, 181, 230 

defeat in 1897, i, 74 
-, and M. Venizelos, 

5. 14. 15. 53-57. 115. 133. 

145. 181 
-, , and the Kaiser, 9, 

10, 56, 69, 95, 96, 170 
-, , Agitation against, 

70, 121, 127, 143, 145, 167, 

181, 182 
-, : dethronement, 186, 

191-199 

restoration, 227, 

228 
-, : character, 198, 199, 

228 

: abdication, 235 
Constantinople, Russia and, 31, 

32 
Constitution, Greek, 70-74, 191, 

201, 205, 220 
Corfu, 85, 86, 91, 177 
Corinth, 186, 190, 192, 195, 227 
Coundouriotis, Admiral, 103, 

131, 133, 183, 209 



240 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 



Crete, 2, 86, 128, 130, 133-136, 

208 
Crewe, Lord, 41, 42 
Crimean War, 103 
Crown Councils, 29, 68, 170, 192 
Cuninghame, Sir Thomas, 82 
Cyprus, 66, 75 

Danglis, General, 133 
Dardanelles, 14, 15, 27-31, 34, 

59, 72. See also " Galli- 

poli" 
Dartige du Fournet, Admiral, 

91, 92, no, 112, 129, 130, 

131, 139, 141, 143, 147, 148, 

149, 152, 153-160, 163-164 
Delcass^, M., 32, 37, 38, 39, 41, 

42, 46, 76 
Delyannis, M., 74 
Demidotf, Prince, Russian 

Minister at Athens, 32, 35, 

104, 112 
Demir-Hissar, Bridge of, 85 
Deville, M., quoted, 13, 28, 40, 

51. 57 
Dimitracopoulos, M., 123, 192 
Dousmanis, General, 81, 112, 200 
Dova-tep6, Fort, 99 
Dragoumis, Ex-Premier, 192, 210 

, Ion, 222 

Drama, 109, 118, 121 

Elections of June, 1915, 33, 50 

December, 1915, 75 

demanded and eluded 

(June-September, 1916), 
102, 106-108, 114, 115, 123 

of November, 1920, 222-226 

Eleusis, III, 174 

Elliot, Sir Francis, British 
Minister at Athens, 35, 88, 
104, 114, 117, 123, 125, 128, 
142, 145, 149, 156, 165 

England, Policy of, 13, 20, 22, 
31, 42, 56, 77, 102, 104, 106, 
128, 144, 185, 186, 232-234, 
236 

Esslin, M., 209 

Evangelismos hospital, 210 

Falkenhayn, General von, 95- 

97 
Fleet, Greek, 131, 141, 148, 149 



Fiorina, 85 

France, Policy of, 13, 31, 4O, 
77. 87, 103, 129, 144, 153, 
^55, 183-185, 230, 231, 
233-235. 237 

Gallipoli, 14, 30, 31, 36, 43, 50, 
63. 73- S^^ ^^•so " Dar- 
danelles " 

Gauchet, Admiral, 164, 190 

George, King of Greece, 71 

, Prince, 35, 38-40, 134- 

137, 156, 211 

Gerakini, 91 

Germany and Greece, 11, 87, 89, 
95-98, 121, 122 

Goerlitz, Greek troops interned 
at, 121 

Gounaris, M., Premier, 33-46, 
200 

Grey, Sir Edward, 22, 23, 25, 
35. 56. 59. 60, 66, loi, 
102 

" Guarantee " of Greek Con- 
stitution, 187-189 

Guillemin, M., French Minister 
at Athens, 37, 56, 61, 82, 
88, 102, 104, 106, no, 117, 
118, 129, 146, 152, 164 

Hamilton, General, 59 
Hatzopoulos, Colonel, 108, 118- 

121 
Hautefeuille, M., 172 
Hindenburg, Field-Marshal von, 

118, 119, 121, 170 
Holy Synod, Appeals from, 176 
deposed, 208 

Ionia, 234, 235 

Italian troops in Macedonia, 108 

Epirus, 203 

policy, 231, 234 

Jagow, Von, 97 

Jonnart, M., his mission to 
Greece, 186, 189-206 

Kaiser, The, and King Con- 
stantine, 9, 10, 117, 180, 181 

, , Queen Sophie, 

169, 170 

Kara-Burnu, 85 



INDEX 



241 



Katerini, 96, 147 

Kerr, Admiral Mark, 10, 14, 15, 

219 
Kitchener, Lord, 13 

, , on French policy, 76 

, , in Greece, 81 

Krivolak, 79, 95 

Lambros, Prof., Premier, 141, 
143. 149. 154. 158, 181, 200, 
210 

Larissa, 118 

Lemnos, 58, 130 

Leucas, 178 

London, Treaties of (1863 and 
1864), 86 

, Conference in, 186 

Macedonia, Allies in, 76-80, 
82-85, 108 

, Germano-Bulgarian in- 
vasion of, 94, 97, 98, 108, 
109 

, Elections in, 94, 109 

, British soldiers' conduct 

in, 232 

Mercati, M., 55, 56 

Metaxas, Colonel, 29, 81, 112, 
200 

Milne, General, loi 

Milo, 82, III 

Monastir, 67, 77, 95, 145 

Moschopoulos, General, 59, 82 

Moudros, 58 

Mytilene, 58, 94, 130, 133, 208 

Near East, Franco-British 

rivalry in, 231, 237 
Neutral zone, 147, 148, 168, 178, 

180 
Nicholas, Prince, 123, 200 

Oropus, 220 

Otho, King, 103, 125, 187 

Painlev6, M., 186 
Palaeologus, Emperor Constan- 

tine. Legend of, 218 
Passitch, M., 18, 40, 42, 51 
Paul, Prince, 224 
Peloponnesus, 146, 167, 169, 

171, 192, 195 
Phaleron, 198 



Pirseus, 103, no, 120, 127, 141, 
143. 159. 165, 176, 190, 202, 
213 

Poincar6, M., 38, 40, 235 

Politis, M., 47, 183 

Rallis, M., 30, 80, 210, 227 
Regnault, General, 190, 203, 204 
Repoulis, M., 222 
Reservists, 107, 117, 127, 171, 

184, 203 
Ribot, M., 184, 186, 190, 217 
Rome, Conference at, 169, 185 
Roques, General, 147, 152 
Rufos, M., 209 
Rumania, 9, 10, 18, 21-24, i^3> 

116 
Rupel, 97, 98, 99, 210 
Russia and Greece, 31, 32, 43, 

104, 126, 157, 184, 185, 189 

Bulgaria, 62 

Servia, 18 

Turkey, 19, 27 

Salamis, III, 149, 190, 195 
Salisbury, Lord, on Greek policy 

in 1897, 74 
Salonica, Allies' landing at, 56, 

58-62, 64, 74 

in state of siege, 100 

, Revolt at, no 

, Fire at, 232 

Samos, 130, 133 

San Remo, 218 

Sarrail, General, 79, 82, 99, 100, 

102, 106, 107, 108, no, 164, 

178, 179, 181, 183, 202 
Sazonow, M., 18, 19, 31 
Schenck, Baron, 140 
Secret Services, French and 

British, 90-93, 107, 112, 

117, 127-130, 179 
Serres, 109, 118, 120 
Servia, Greek alliance with, 7, 

8. 17. 33. 51. 52. 55. 58. 

65, 66 
, Entente and, 18, 22, 23, 

40, 41, 42, 51 
Sevres, Treaty of, 221, 232, 237 
Skouloudis, M., Premier, 69 
and Entente, 77-79, 81- 

84, 88, 89, 99, 100 
■ Germany, 87, 89, 95- 



242 



GREECE AND THE ALLIES 



Skouloudis, M., Premier, placed 
under surveillance, 200 

impeached, 209, 210 

Smyrna, 35, 36, 221, 223, 234, 

235 
Sophie, Queen, 160, 169, 170, 

173 

Staff, Greek General ; Dar- 
danelles, Plans of, 15, 16 

, , and Servia, 17, 

40, 41, 49, 52 

Constantine, 13, 31, 35, 72, 

73 

, , M. Veni- 

zelos, 25, 28, 29. 45, 55, 62, 

73. 81 
, , Lord 

Kitchener, 81 
, , on Gallipoli 

enterprise, 28, 29, 31, 36, 47 
, , opposed to 

Asiatic expansion, 25, 26 
Straits, Russia and the, 31 

, France and the, 230 

, England and the, 236 

Stratos, M., 192, 193 

Streit, M., 8. 12, 13, 15, 34, 45, 

112, 200 
Struma, 85, 97 
Submarines, German, Alleged 

fuelling of, 90-92 
Suda Bay, 86, 128, 133 
Syngros gaol, 209 
Syra, 177 
Syria, 237 

Talaat Bey, 18 

Tatoi, 53, 55 

Thasos, 120, 130 

Therisos movement, 134, 136 

Thessaly, 145, 147, 168, 178, 

180, 181, 186, 190, 192 
Thrace, 19, 221, 222, 234, 235, 

236 
Turkey and Entente, 4, 13, 19, 

232, 233, 235, 236 



Turkey and Germany, 10, 13, 

18, 19 

Bulgaria, 19, 52 

Greece, 13, 18, iq, 

217, 218, 232, 233, 234 

Venizelos, Eleutherios : early 

career, 2-5, 133-136 
, and King Constantine, 

5, 14, 15, 29, 50, 53-57, 

109, 110, 136, 137, 183, 

220, 225. 
: policy, 7, 8, 12-14, 20, 

21-27, 28-32, 51, 53, 55, 61, 

68, 127, 205, 207, 221, 230 

: first resignation, 31 

: return to power, 50 

: popularity, 5, 50 

: second resignation, 63 

: unpopularity, 75, 94, 107, 

108, 175, 176 
: agitation, 44-48, 70-74, 

92-94, 99, 127 
: rebellion, 106, no, 128- 

131. 133. 136-138 
: Salonica Government, 

133, 140, 147, 148, 168. 

169, 174, 177, 178 

: anathematization, 175 

: elevation, 202-206 

: rule, 207-216 

: attempt on his life, 221 

: fall, 226 

: character, 229 

: representative of Greece 

in Entente capitals, 235 
Vlachopoulos, Colonel, 52, 53 
Volo, 120 

Wellington, Duke of, 188 

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Frinted in Great Britain ty JarroLi ^ ^ons, Ltd., Norwich 



TURKEY 
IN TRANSITION 

By G. F. ABBOTT 

" Very few writers of our time know better how to combine a 
sense of humour with a shrewd capacity for observation. . . . Mr. 
Abbott's vivacity is unfaiUng, but it is of the kind which never 
rehnquishes its self-respect. . . . IndividuaUty, aUke of observa- 
tion and of judgment, is the keynote of his work, and he never 
touches a theme without enduing it with a suggestive personahty." 

— The Daily Telegraph. 

" There is no vital political factor in the government of Turkey 
of to-day that Mr. Abbott leaves untouched and undescribed. 
The educated new Turkish woman, the old Turkish gentleman, the 
young Turkish bounder, the Christian, the liberal, the committee- 
man, the general, the editor, Abdul Hamid and Mohammed V, 
are each laid bare, discussed, described, and judged with a know- 
ledge, impartiality and precision that should excite the envy of 
anyone who has vainly endeavoured to accomplish a similar 
task. . . . He gives us a study of the ex-SuItan which should live 
as an historic document. This author alone, it may be confidently 
asserted, has given a truthful and graphic account of the character 
and personality of the man whose complexity, craft, simpleness, 
sagacity and folly have baffled pressmen and diplomatists for over 
thirty years. . . . With masterly directness he traces for the first 
time the whole sequence of events extending from the first revolu- 
tion of July, 1908, to the final crash of April, 1909." 

— The Saturday Review. 

" Mr. Abbott's brilliant book, ' Turkey in Transition,' deserves 
to be read, not only because it is the work of one of the highest 
authorities on the politics of the Near East, but because it presents 
a picture of the Young Turks widely different from that which is 
commonly accepted. ... A powerful volume." 

— The Westminster Gazette. 



LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD. 12s 6d.net 



TURKEY, GREECE, AND 
THE GREAT POWERS 

By G. F. ABBOTT 

" Mr. Abbott is well known as a Philhellene of the most uncom- 
promising nature, and as a writer on the subject of Near-Eastern 
diplomacy and nationality. . . . His book, despite some obvious 
blemishes of bias, is certainly the most amusing and one of the 
most instructive books yet written on the relations of Greece and 
Turkey with the Great Powers." — The New Statesman. 



" There seems no reason to apprehend that the Entente will 
suffer from lack of candid friends. One of the latest examples 
of faithful dealing with one's own side is to be found in a book 
called ' Turkey, Greece, and the Great Powers,' by that unquestion- 
able expert in Near-Eastern affairs, Mr. G. F. Abbott." 

— The Guardian. 

" Mr. Abbott's sixth chapter, where he discusses the motives of 
Turkey's choice in this war, is a chapter which all diplomatists, 
politicians, and editors will read with profit. And in his treatment 
of Greek affairs Mr. Abbott pursues a line which is sufiiciently 
detached from the official path to be enlightening to all students of 
our foreign pohcy." — Mr. A. F. Whyte, M.P., in " The Observer." 



" If anybody still doubts the futility of Viscount Grey's diplo- 
matic methods — the flaunting of a velvet glove without a hand, 
much less an iron one, in it — they have only to read this well- 
arranged and well-written argument." — The Morning Post. 



" Mr. Abbott's indictment of British policy in its relations to 
Greece during the nineteenth century is fierce ; but, in the main, it 
is just. His final chapter on the present war deserves careful and 
respectful study. We say, ' respectful,' for it wanted no little 
courage to write it. . . . With much of his criticism of the Allied 
handling of Greece we find ourselves in agreement. It has turned a 
friendly little nation to bitter enmity. ... It will not stand inves- 
tigation from the standpoint either of legal right or of political 
tact. . . . No honest student of contemporary affairs in the East 
can afford to ignore the sixth chapter of both its sections." 

— The Nation. 

LONDON: ROBERT SCOTT. 7s. 6d. nst 



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